AG Barr Urges Return to 'Comply First, Complain Later' in Dealings With Police

By Susan Jones | May 15, 2019 | 8:03am EDT
Attorney General William Barr (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - In a speech marking National Police Week, Attorney General William Barr said resisting police officers -- an increasingly common phenomenon -- puts everyone in danger.

Barr said it's time to "get back to basics" when it comes to public dealings with police:

One of the factors that is increasing the danger to police officers these days is increasing toleration of the notion that it is okay to resist the police. It was once understood that resistance is a serious crime because it necessarily triggers an escalation of violence that endangers the life not only of the police office, but also the suspect.

It was not too long ago that influential public voices – whether in the media, or among community and civic leaders – stressed the need to comply with police commands, even if one thinks they are unjust. “Comply first” and, if you think you have been wronged, “complain later.”

But we don’t hear this much anymore. Instead, when an incident escalates due to a suspect’s violent resistance to police that fact is almost always ignored by the commentary. The officer’s every action is dissected, but the suspect’s resistance, and the danger it posed, frequently goes without mention.

We need to get back to basics. We need public voices, in the media and elsewhere, to underscore the needs to “Comply first, and, if warranted, complain later.” This will make everyone safe -- the police, suspects, and the community at large. This will save lives.

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