Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview on Fox News' "Special Report" Monday that he supports banning police chokeholds — one of the reforms proposed by Democrats in Congress — except when necessary to meet "lethal force."

The big picture: Barr condemned the idea promoted by activists in the wake of George Floyd's killing of defunding police departments, calling it "dangerous" and stressing his belief that more crime will be committed if police are forced to pull back from communities.

Driving the news: A veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council signed a pledge on Sunday to begin the process of dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department as it currently exists. The council-members are seeking to replace it with a community-based public safety model — the details of which are not yet clear.

  • Barr, while acknowledging why members of the black community would view police departments as systemically racist given the "history of racial injustice" in the U.S., called the decision "the exact opposite of the way we should go."
  • "I think, in fact, over the past 50 or 60 years, we've had a lot of reform of police departments," Barr said. "I was attorney general 30 years ago and I can tell you there's a world of difference."
  • "Today, the police chiefs, the rank-and-file officers understand the need for change, and there has been great change," he continued. "And I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong, and I think it's dangerous to demonize police."

Barr emphasized his view, which has also been expressed by President Trump and other members of his administration, that the overwhelming majority of police officers in the U.S. are good people.

  • "One of the legitimate grievances of the African-American community is that they are treated with suspicion and braced simply because they're African-Americans," Barr said. "That does happen. By the same token, peaceful demonstrators should not be treated as violent extremists simply because they're out on the streets."
  • "It's the same with police officers. Every organization has individuals engage in misconduct, and we have to be careful before we say the whole organizations is rotten."

Go deeper: Biden campaign says he does not support defunding the police

Go deeper

The cities that are already defunding the police

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"Defund the police" became a rallying cry for many people on the left almost overnight — but it's also having a real impact as cities move quickly to slash their police department budgets.

Driving the news: In the aftermath of the protests over the killing of George Floyd, city leaders are calling to cut law enforcement budgets or reallocate funds in at least 19 U.S. cities, according to Local Progress, which pushes for racial and economic justice and is tracking the issue in real-time.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 10,763,604 — Total deaths: 517,667 — Total recoveries — 5,522,094Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,715,124 — Total deaths: 128,439 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
  3. Public health: What we know about the immune response to coronavirus and what it means for a vaccine.
  4. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases — 5 states saw 27% spike in heart-related deaths in first 3 months of coronavirus pandemic.

The other immune responders to COVID-19

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scientists are inching closer to understanding how antibodies and immune cells are unleashed by the body in response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Natural immunity differs from that afforded by vaccination but it offers clues for the design of effective vaccines and therapies.