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Sens. Paul, McCaskill Call for Demilitarization of Police

Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:04:26 +0000

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rand Paul weighed in on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri and echoed Sen. Claire McCaskill’s call for demilitarizing the police in an op-ed published for TIME Thursday.

“Nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians,” Paul, R-Ky., wrote.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a police officer Saturday afternoon. Since then, unrest has roiled the city of Ferguson and the police department has been criticized for its heavily-armed response to protesters.

Many residents of the town are demanding a full, transparent investigation into why an officer fired multiple shots at an unarmed teenager.

“Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them,” Paul wrote.

“The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it,” he added.

Earlier on Thursday, McCaskill, D-Mo., issued a statement also calling for the demilitarization of law enforcement.

"We need to de-militarize this situation -- this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution," McCaskill said. "I obviously respect law enforcement’s work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right. Today is going to be a new start, we can and need to do better."

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