Sen. Tim Scott brings AG Barr to speak with SC law enforcement, church leaders

Sen. Tim Scott brings AG Barr to speak with SC law enforcement, church leaders
Attorney General William Barr speaks during a roundtable with President Donald Trump about America's seniors, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, June 15, 2020, in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Sen. Tim Scott is bringing the national conversation on policing and justice to South Carolina.

Scott, the only Black Republican senator, was joined by U.S. Attorney General William Barr in meeting with community leaders in the state, as well as law enforcement on Wednesday.

Both meetings with church leaders and law enforcement were closed to the press. In between meetings, Barr and Scott took some questions.

The attorney general was in South Carolina to show support for Scott’s police reform bill -- also known as the JUSTICE Act. According to Scott, the legislation would increases transparency among law enforcement agencies and discourage the use of chokeholds.

Scott said the meetings in South Carolina will help him come up with ideas to amend the bill.

Sen. Scott and AG William Barr in South Carolina

LIVE: Sen. Tim Scott brings the national conversation on policing to SC with visit from US AG William Barr >> https://bit.ly/2ZMkAZO Get the earliest breaking news alerts on your phone with the WIS 10 News app >> http://bit.ly/2Zz44uF

Posted by WIS TV on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Barr said one of the biggest concerns brought up to him in the meeting with community leaders was body camera funding and racial profiling in law enforcement.

Both issues are addressed in Scott’s bill.

Barr said he believes the best way to make change in law enforcement is to find the right balance.

“It’s not defunding the police or doing away with the police or demonizing the police -- nor is it giving short shrift to the legitimate concerns that are out there about police abuses and overreach,” he said.

The South Carolina Democratic Party sent WIS a statement in response to Barr’s visit. They wrote:

“Tim Scott has not done one damn thing to help communities of color as a US Senator or a member of the SC Legislature. Now he brings and props up the person who ordered tear gas to be fired upon peaceful protestors (sic), the majority of whom were African American. Scott chooses to bring the person who has refused to prosecute crimes against people of color and made a mockery of our judicial system. Tim Scott has to be playing a joke on the people most affected by police brutality.”
Trav Robertson, Jr. - SCDP Chair

Scott said he is working closely with House Democrats who also have a police reform bill in the works. He said he would like to work together on some ideas to see if they can drum up enough bipartisan support.

Senate Democrats voted to block debate on Scott’s JUSTICE Act -- essentially stalling the legislation.

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