Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | Rand Paul | Rand Paul | police | militarization

Rand Paul: Why Are We Spending $8M in Fargo To Fight Terrorism?

By Courtney Coren   |   Sunday, 24 Aug 2014 12:26 PM

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has been openly critical of the militarization of local police forces by the federal government that has come to light during the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, wants to know why Homeland Security has spent $8 million in Fargo, North Dakota to fight terrorism.

"Homeland Security gave $8 million to Fargo to fight terrorism," Paul said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"I say, if the terrorists get to Fargo, we might as well give up," he told NBC's Senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing.

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"I say that as a joke, but what are we doing spending $8 million in Fargo? What are we doing sending a tank — there's an armored personnel carrier in Keene, New Hampshire?" the Kentucky Republican asked.

The Kentucky Republican wrote an opinion piece for Time Magazine on Aug. 14 criticizing the use of military equipment in Ferguson, Missouri to fight back the protests and riots that broke out following the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

"There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response," Paul wrote.

"The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action," he added.

The Kentucky senator and potential candidate for president in 2016 said that Washington is to blame for the increased militarization of local police forces, saying that it's done "in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism."

Paul said on "Meet the Press" that "that's why you have to change the whole war on drugs."

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"It's not just this one instance," he explained. "I don't know what happened during the shooting, so I'm not going to make a judgement on the shooting. But I do know what's happening, [when] you look at who's in our prisons."

When looking at the large percentage of African Americans that make up the U.S. prison population, the Kentucky Republican said there's a reason why black Americans "perceive it as, 'my goodness, the police are out to get us," even if during the arrests "the thoughts that were going on at that time had nothing to do with race."

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of how military equipment is used by state and local police forces in light of the fallout in Ferguson.

Paul praised the decision to send an African American police officer to Ferguson, Missouri to talk to the people there in the face of protests that have occurred following the shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer.

"One of the best things they've done in Ferguson is send an African American police officer down there to talk to people in the community," Paul said on "Meet the Press."

"That hadn't worked completely. I'll admit that," he said. "But it's a better way than shooting tear gas at people in their front yard."

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