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US attorney general denies institutional racism

September 3, 2020

William Barr said there is a "false narrative" regarding attacks on Black people by white police officers. He also said the US Justice Department believes anti-fascist movement antifa is at the heart of protest violence.

USA Kansas City | William Barr
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/C. Riedel

US Attorney General William Barr has said there is a "false narrative" in the United States that unarmed Black people are frequently attacked by white police officers.

"I think the narrative that the police are on some epidemic of shooting unarmed Black men is simply a false narrative," Barr told US broadcaster CNN on Wednesday. "The fact is that it is very rare for an unarmed African American to be shot by a white police officer."

"Didn't Jesse Jackson say that when he looks behind them and he sees a group of young Black males walking behind them, he's more scared than when he sees a group of white dudes," said Barr, highlighting comments from the American civil rights activist. "Does that make him a racist?"

Monitoring antifa

Barr also said the Justice Department was keeping a close eye on the anti-fascist movement antifa, as he claimed it is provoking violence and looting across the United States.

"I've talked to every police chief in every city where there has been major violence and they all have identified antifa as the ramrod for the violence," Barr said.

Read more: Trump's 'antifa' accusations spark debate in Germany, the movement's birthplace

"They [antifa] are flying around the country, we know people who are flying around the country, we know where they're going, we see some of the purchases they're making before the riots of weapons to use in those riots," Barr said. "So, we are following them."

Republican President Donald Trump has been an outspoken critic of antifa, alleging that it is a hate group that has incited violence, particularly during recent Black Lives Matter protests.

The antifa movement is an unofficial network of loosely affiliated left-wing protest groups who promote direct action and confrontation to fight the far-right and fascism. The group's name refers to a shortened version of "anti-fascist."

What is Antifa? History, ideology and tactics explained

Reuters contributed to this article.

John Silk Editor and writer for English news, as well as the Culture and Asia Desks.@JSilk