- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul took a look at the issues surrounding Eric Garner’s death — the Staten Island black man who was killed by chokehold by white N.Y. Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo — and said the fueling factor for the tragedy was political overreach, leading to “bad laws” for petty crimes.

The street altercation between Mr. Pantaleo and Garner started because the police officer suspected him of selling cigarettes illegally and bypassing tax laws. And to Mr. Paul, that reason for the confrontation was in and of itself ridiculous, The Hill reported.

“Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes … then some politician also had to direct the police to arrest people for selling loose cigarettes,” he said during an interview on “Hardball” on MSNBC. “For someone to die over breaking that law, there really is no excuse for it. But I do blame politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws.”

Mr. Pantaleo was not indicted for the death. Attorney General Eric Holder said shortly after the grand jury decision went public that his Department of Justice is launching a civil rights investigation into the affair.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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