- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, decried some of the use of aggressive police tactics and a local unit’s possessing mine-resistant transportation Monday, saying terrorists are unlikely to target a place like Fargo, North Dakota.

“I think we could start out with no longer dispensing bayonets to police forces,” Mr. Paul said, according to the Clarion-Ledger. “FEMA gave out 12,000 bayonets last year. That’s just stupid. We are giving out mine-resistant ambush protection vehicles — 20-ton vehicles. Dundee, Michigan, a town of 3,000, has a 20-ton mine-resistant ambush protection vehicle. That’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Paul, who is considering a possible run for the presidency in 2016, was in Mississippi Monday for an event for the state Republican party.

“It’s supposed to be for terrorism, but try to explain to me when terrorists are going to attack Dundee, Michigan, or Fargo, North Dakota. … We have no-knock raids, and a little baby had a concussion grenade thrown in her face at one in the morning without a knock near Atlanta about two months ago,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a mistake of police being too aggressive, but sometimes it’s putting police in an untenable position to enforce laws that really we should not be enforcing with that degree of force.” 

Mr. Paul also said he thought the war on drugs has gone “a little overboard,” and defended comments he has made recently that the taxation policy in New York contributed to the circumstances surrounding the choking death of 43-year-old Eric Garner, for which a grand jury recently declined to pursue charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

“When I’ve watched the video [of Garner’s death] I’ve been horrified by it,” Mr. Paul said. “Some on the left have criticized me for saying that the law and politicians are partly responsible, but I believe that. … You’ve taken cigarettes and put a $5.85 tax on cigarettes. Over half the price of cigarettes in New York City is taxes, so you’ve criminalized behavior that really the police shouldn’t be involved with to begin with.”

Garner had been stopped by police on Staten Island on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes. Mr. Paul said whatever Garner was doing, he didn’t deserve to die for it.

“While the grand jury has made its decision, whether or not a policeman who accidentally kills someone while stopping them from distributing cigarettes, that’s probably a lack of discretion and you probably shouldn’t have the power to be a policeman any more, at the very least,” he said.

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