LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- U.S. Attorney General William Barr is visiting Little Rock Thursday and taking part in three events.
The first event was a Federal and Local Law Enforcement Roundtable from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock.
The roundtable included U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R- Arkansas), Congressman French Hill (R-Arkansas), Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland and other Arkansas law enforcement officials.
The media was only allowed to cover the opening remarks.
You can watch those remarks here:
In the opening remarks, Hiland said it’s been a long couple of months for law enforcement.
Hiland said the group would have a “frank discussion” on issues facing law enforcement.
Rutledge said, “I like to say Arkansas is one big small town.”
The Arkansas Attorney General also said, “During this time, the anti-law enforcement sentiment has hit a fever pitch.”
Congressman Hill said peaceful protest is protected in the Constitution, but we cannot allow looting, damage or harm to law enforcement.
Hill also said calls to defund police and ICE are calls to defund law and order.
Sen. Cotton said police officers, prosecutors, deputies, everyone lives with the people they are trying to protect and is why we must uphold the rule of law and not mob rule.
Barr said President Donald Trump has made it clear that if state and local governments want federal help, it will be provided.
“I think this country is blessed with some of the finest police organizations in the world,” Barr said. “And we look to continue to build up the strength of our law enforcement.”
Barr also said we live in interesting times.
Barr says there is a need to attract and retain law enforcement officers.
There is also a strong push for more reforms, including some extremist like defund the police, according to Barr.
While speaking about the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Barr said the demonstrations were carried away by terrorist organizations.
Barr said, “We are building up our intelligence on these instigators.”
Barr said more than 150 people have been arrested on federal charges and there are over 500 investigations going on across the country.
Barr also said many cities in the United States are seeing a sharp uptick in violent crimes, especially murders and shootings.
Barr said another challenge was some state and local governments are not willing to work with the federal government.
“It’s hard unless we have support of state and local enforcement,” Barr said.
When speaking about unarmed Black men killed by law enforcement, Barr said the trend is this year, only 10 unarmed Black men were killed by force and it was 40 five years ago.
Barr also said in the 10 deaths of unarmed Black men this year, six were in the process of attacking police at the time they were shot.
Barr said while there is still more work to do, it does not compare to the effect of crime on the African American community.
You can watch the opening remarks of the Federal and Local Enforcement Roundtable in the video above.
Barr spoke at the Governor’s Mansion, along with Governor Asa Hutchinson, Sen. Cotton and Congressman Hill.
You can watch his full comments to the media here:
The third event was the Arkansas Business Leaders Roundtable. This event took place at 2:30 p.m.
The event was at RED & BLUE in Little Rock.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr along with Senator Tom Cotton, Congressman French Hill, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, and Arkansas business leaders were in attendance.
This story will be updated throughout the day.
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