Rand Paul: Eric Garner Chokehold Officer Shouldn't Be a Cop Anymore

The Kentucky senator says that NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo should no longer be on the force.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at an election rally for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at Bowman Field November 3, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says that police officer who put Staten Island father of six Eric Garner in a chokehold that lead to the man's death should no longer "have the power to be a policeman any more."

Paul singled out NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, though not by name, in a comment Tuesday at a fundraiser for the Mississippi Republican Party. 

"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," Paul said, the Clarion-Ledger reported. 

A Staten Island grand jury decided last week not to charge Pantaleo in connection with Garner's death. 

Paul also continued to put partial blame on the encounter that led to fateful encounter on New York's high cigarette taxes. Garner was approached by police because he was selling loose cigarettes in violation of the law. 

"When I've watched the video (of Garner's death) I've been horrified by it," 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 … I'm not even sure that Garner had any individual cigarettes on him. Now he had probably been doing that … but he didn't deserve to die for that … 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."

In an interview last week with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Paul initially targeted politicians for "putting police in a difficult situation with bad laws."

 

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