Michael Brown Shooting

Rand Paul Reacts to Ferguson: Reform Criminal Justice System, Petty Fines

|

Rand Paul
Gage Skidmore

Sen. Rand Paul told Politico that he didn't have specific thoughts on the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, but renewed his calls to demilitarize the police and reform the criminal justice system:

The Kentucky Republican did say the situation reflects an "undercurrent of unease out there related to poverty, related to drugs." He added, "I think part of the answer is trying to reform our criminal justice system."

Paul specifically mentioned the issue of so-called "petty" fines for traffic violations. Petty fines are a $2 million revenue source for the city of Ferguson. But, as Paul notes, paying them is hardly inconsequential for the city's poor residents.

Reason's Brian Doherty and the Cato Institute's Walter Olson have examined how petty fines feed into the resentment of law enforcement felt by Ferguson's poor and minority citizens:

If indeed more people's usual interactions with police had anything to do with "protecting and serving" and less with violently messing up your life for reasons that can seem petty and pointless, from people whose version of respect is "do everything I say the way I'm comfortable with or you might die," the atmosphere surrounding what happened in Ferguson would likely be less toxic.

On the police militarization front, Paul plans to introduce legislation tackling that issue next year. He told Time that he will spend the coming weeks going over the details with other lawmakers:

Some libertarian-minded Republicans have also joined the call to demilitarize the police, including Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who wrote in a TIME op-ed less than a week after the Brown shooting that "there should be a difference between a police response and a military response." On Tuesday, Paul's office confirmed that he will introduce his own bill addressing police militarization next year. He's working with retiring Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on the legislation and will talk to other senators "over the coming months" to garner support, according to an aide.

More from Reason on the mayhem in Ferguson here.

Update: Paul has just published his own op-ed in Time titled, "The Politicians Are to Blame in Ferguson". He writes:

In the search for culpability for the tragedy in Ferguson, I mostly blame politicians. Michael Brown's death and the suffocation of Eric Garner in New York for selling untaxed cigarettes indicate something is wrong with criminal justice in America. The War on Drugs has created a culture of violence and put police in a nearly impossible situation.

In Ferguson, the precipitating crime was not drugs, but theft. But the War on Drugs has created a tension in some communities that too often results in tragedy. One need only witness the baby in Georgia, who had a concussive grenade explode in her face during a late-night, no-knock drug raid (in which no drugs were found) to understand the feelings of many minorities — the feeling that they are being unfairly targeted.

Three out of four people in jail for drugs are people of color. In the African American community, folks rightly ask why are our sons disproportionately incarcerated, killed, and maimed?

Watch Reason TV cover petty fines below.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

46 responses to “Rand Paul Reacts to Ferguson: Reform Criminal Justice System, Petty Fines

  1. Fact Check: The Lao baby grenaded in GA was a boy.

  2. but renewed his calls to demilitarize the police and reform the criminal justice system

    That dude is no libertarian?.

    Pussies out and adds

    /sarc

  3. Sounds like Paul has a perfectly reasoned and logical position. Therefore he will be ignored on this issue because the SJWs have already mapped out the battlefield.

    1. Therefore he will be ignored on this issue called an extremist because the SJWs have already mapped out the battlefield.

  4. SOFT ON CRIMEZ1!!1111

    1. This guy has no shirt on, is wearing a single fucking shoe, and keeps drop his fucking martinis on the dance floor. And not a single fucking person here gives a shit! sigh….

      1. Post a video.

        1. Show that you care.

  5. The sight of a bunch of Democratic voters spouting Democratic slogans and rioting and looting is going to have a political effect. The vast majority of voters don’t like riots, especially race riots, and it looks like the vast majority are OK with the grand jury opinion. I’d say these riots will lead to at least a -1 D and +1 R shift in 2016. Riots helped Nixon get elected in ’68, and helped elect the GOP House in ’94. I even wonder if the photos of Brown assaulting the Asian shopkeeper might have been part of why the Asian vote shifted toward the GOP in this last election.

    I suspect the Hillary camp is very, very angry right now.

    1. The vast Democratic shifts and all. Plus riots. And Asians. Can’t leave out the Asians.

    2. “Riots…helped elect the GOP House in ’94”

      Which riots?

      1. Not the post-King verdicts which occurred a few months before…Bill Clinton’s election?

        1. Oops, I got the date of those riots wrong.

    3. …”why the Asian vote shifted toward the GOP in this last election”…

      Things like this may have also contributed.

      1. Yes, that, too.

  6. DanBruce 37 minutes ago
    What a hypocrite. It is the political tradition from which Sen. Paul arises and thrives that has been the biggest roadblock to the war on poverty over the decades.

    1. “How dare he offer solutions on our wedge issue!”

    2. “We’d have won the War on Poverty by now, if it hadn’t been for Republicans!!”

  7. He loses me once he starts talking about minorities and the criminal justice system. I’m white and have a felony for handing a guy a bag with a plant inside it. Screwed my life up for a good 3 years (was 6 weeks from going to Air Force boot camp).

    And while I’m doing well career wise now, the only reason is because the bar/restaurant industry doesn’t care about the felony. Basically every other industry does.

    Its not a black vs white or even blue vs black thing. Its blue vs all of us.

    1. Your anecdote does not measure up to the data presented by Paul.

    2. Its blue vs all of us.

      Bingo.

    3. He isn’t saying that the War on Drugs doesn’t hurt non-minorities as well.

    4. The statistics he uses for his argument are accurate, and while your situation sucks it is an outlier. Generally speaking young blacks go to jail for drug offenses at much higher rate than young white kids. While this problem does affect everyone, it affects minority communities more often. This is his point…

    5. I’d like to insert a minor correction, Kind Frog. It is establishment culture against all of us. The establishment produces the lawyers and politicians who create the laws which are then imposed upon the populace through the legal institution and its ready arm of enforcers called the blues (a minority of which I am sure despise some of the very laws they have to enforce).

      1. Yeah. Hate lawyers until they get you out of a prison sentence. I appreciate the good service that I paid for.

    6. “He loses me once he starts talking about minorities and the criminal justice system”

      Minorities became the target when Gubment figured out that their daddies and mommies don’t have large bank accounts and as many connections to help them.

      America wants to grease the skids of filling the jails and the rolls of people who are not allowed to vote – and it’s just easier to do so with certain minorities.

  8. While this has something to do with the criminal justice system, it has FAR more to do with the welfare system and the corrosive culture it breeds, particularly when combined with the toxic identity politics (i.e., racist beliefs) that is so fashionable in black communities.

    1. But it’s cool to shoot people and take their new Air Jordans, or because they are wearing the wrong color shirt! Learning to read and write, that shit’s for white people, gnome sayun?

      1. Gnome Chomsky.

        http://biolinguistica.files.wo…..gnome1.jpg

  9. Just like clockwork, Rand Paul story about every 5-6 headlines. Reason is taking that Koch money and delivering the best headlines Rand can buy!

    1. How dare they report on a politician with a different POV than

      every other

      major politician in Washington! Obviously, they’re terribly biased!

      1. Huh, I mixed up quote and bold. Oh, well.

        1. How do you misspell “B” as “blockquote” ?

      2. “How dare they report on a politician with a different POV than”

        Sure, they should pimp the guy who wants boots on the ground to attack ISIS (yeah, that’s different, right?) and who wants the civil rights act overturned – and who believes we are a Christian Nation and no pol should be in office unless they have faith……and who says we could solve America’s Race problem if only we lowered the cost of traffic tickets!

        This is a clown show – not a different POV…

    2. Koch $$ = Bringing home our troops, ending the war on drugs, restoring our civil liberties, ending deficit spending, repealing ACA, auditing the Fed…. keep the money coming guys !!

      1. “Koch $$ = Bringing home our troops”

        Wait – Obama brought home 100’s of thousands of them….and Rand wants Boots on the Ground against ISIS…..

        That antiwar stuff is just a front. The Koch’s have supported EVERY GOP WARMONGER in existence – as they will for the POTUS election. They want two things…

        1. Control over this “toy” we call the USA – it’s just a fun thing for old sad men to do.

        2. The ability to amass more tens of billions by polluting more (deregulation) – those who can’t afford to move to the places with nicer air – well, they don’t deserve those luxuries of clean air and clean water.

        1. *Control over this “toy” we call the USA – it’s just a fun thing for old sad men to do.*

          Said the shitbag who supports superannuated Harry Fucking Reid and the rest of the fossilized DNC leadership.

          Choke and die, commie fuck.

  10. So basically he’s saying we should legalize strong arm robbery so Brown wouldn’t have been killed while resisting arrest?

    1. “So basically he’s saying we should legalize strong arm robbery so Brown wouldn’t have been killed while resisting arrest?”

      Exactly! If the Officer would have only waited until he got shot a couple times or had his neck broken, our society would be just fine!

  11. Apparently, Rand learned how to solve the complex problems of poverty, racism, etc. while fitting eyeglasses. This truly gives new meaning the phrase about Libertarians being the folks who solve the problems of the world at 2am after smoking a joint.

    If Rand has this great POV, why not put to work in HIS STATE – because, after all, small gubment and state’s rights should be the great testing ground. Surely a state with two of the most outspoken Senators in the USA can fix just some of their multitude of BIG problems?

    Was Brown angry and stoned because he owed traffic tickets? Is that why too many black families don’t have dad’s at home – because they owed traffic tickets?

    As others have noted, it is/was largely the RIGHT side of the aisle which has promoted “Law and order” at almost any cost and built up our prison/industrial/corporate complex to the largest in the world. The right in this country is authoritarian and scared – especially of folks who don’t look and talk like them….

    Not to say I am giving a pass to the left. I’m deeply embarrassed by some of their BS surrounding this case. They know not what they do. But ignorance is nothing new – on a personal level. The big difference with Rand is that he bring ignorance (of the complexity of society and government) to Washington DC.

    It ain’t gonna work. Talking is much easier than doing.

    1. 1. Congressmen don’t make state laws. They pass federal laws.
      2. A state could not repeal drug prohibition on its own even if it could.
      3. A number of Democrats have supported law and order policies. Democrats, unlike Republicans, attempt to compensate for the narrative that they tend to be weak on such issues.
      4. It was under Clinton that a lot of mandatory minimums and three strike laws went on the books.

      5. The big one – you want to whine about what Republicans supposedly do, and then when one supports something else, you lambast him…mainly just because he’s a Republican.

      But you are a troll account, anyway, so who really cares.

      1. “2. A state could not repeal drug prohibition on its own even if it could.”

        Ah, so Colorado, MA, CA and other states haven’t found ways around it, eh?

        Don’t be silly. KY shows up at the bottom for most of the “rights” Rand claims to champion. As the leading Big Mouth Big Gubment agent from that state, he has pull if he wants to. Heck, Soros financed the ballot initiative (libertarians here did the leg work) in MA – are you telling us that the Koch’s and Rand couldn’t put their money where their Big Mouths are?

        No I’m not a troll. I just look at results and behavior rather than listening to empty words. You authoritarians are too swayed by the stars in your eyes to actually think.

        1. Turd.Burglar.

  12. my friend’s half-sister makes $74 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired for 8 months but last month her payment was $15926 just working on the laptop for a few hours. browse this site….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

  13. my friend’s half-sister makes $74 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired for 8 months but last month her payment was $15926 just working on the laptop for a few hours. browse this site….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.