Klobuchar also called the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings with Attorney General Barr to examine systematic racial discrimination in policing, including the use of force
WASHINGTON – Today, at a business meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to hold hearings with Attorney General William Barr to examine the Administration’s response to the protesters in Lafayette Park, after federal officers used chemical gas and fired rubber bullets at protesters.
Klobuchar referenced a letter signed by over 1,200 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials calling on DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate Barr’s role in the decision to remove peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square to make room for the president’s photo-op.
Klobuchar also called for immediate answers from Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice on her letter demanding an investigation into patterns and practices of racially discriminatory and violent policing in the Minneapolis Police Department.
Earlier today, Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-MN), along with 23 colleagues, followed up on their letter to Attorney General Barr requesting that the Department of Justice open an investigation into patterns and practices of racially discriminatory and violent policing in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The senators asked for an explanation from Attorney General Barr on why he did not respond to their letter and to explain his statements on June 7 in an appearance on Face the Nation during which he said, “I don’t think necessarily starting a pattern or practice investigation at this stage is warranted.”
On Wednesday, Klobuchar joined her Democratic colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Ranking Member Feinstein in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), requesting that Attorney General Barr be invited to next week’s hearing on police use of force.
Watch video of Klobuchar’s remarks HERE.
“Colleagues, if it is not warranted in the case, in the video that you saw in Minneapolis, to have a pattern and practice investigation of this police department, what facts would warrant such an investigation?” Klobuchar said in remarks at the committee.
“This Trump Administration Justice Department has undertaken only one investigation like this and it was a unit of the Springfield, Massachusetts Police Department. That’s it.
“So I ask you to join us in asking the attorney general when and where and why we would ever have a pattern and practice investigation if he does not believe it is justified in this case.
“We await a formal answer from him, but for now all I have is what he said on a national news program.
“It is also essential that the committee hold an additional separate hearing with Attorney General Barr to examine the Justice Department’s response to the protests that I raised and is raised in the letter from the DOJ officials.
“Attorney General Barr was at the center of the decision to remove peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square using tear gas and rubber bullets in order for the president to have--as we know--eventually, a photo op in front of the church, waving a bible.
“Inspector General Horowitz should open an investigation, but it is also the responsibility of this committee to examine the federal government’s response to protesters, as well as the deployment of federal law enforcement in Washington, DC and the treatment of journalists covering the protests.”