Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that critics of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. are justified in feeling like race was a factor in the incident.
“Let’s say none of this has to do with race. It might not. But if you’re African American and you live in Ferguson, the belief is you see people in prison and they’re mostly black and brown and it is racial, even if the thoughts that were going on at that time had nothing to do with race,” Paul said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
“There’s a very good chance that this had nothing to do with race, but because of the arrests and the way people are arrested, everybody perceives as, my goodness, the police are out to get us,” Paul continued. “That’s why you have to change the whole war on drugs.”
Critics have argued that 18-year-old Michael Brown was unfairly shot by a local police officer because he was black.
The shooting prompted nationwide protest and unrest in Ferguson that saw police accused of using excessive military-style tactics.
Paul attributed the tension with police to the federal government’s transfer of unused military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.
“Homeland Security gave $8 million to Fargo, N.D. and I say if the terrorists get to Fargo, we might as well give up,” the Kentucky senator said. “I say that as a joke, but what are we doing in Fargo?”