In an op-ed on Time.com, the libertarian-minded senator attributed the "militarization of law enforcement" to an "expansion of government power," making the tie-in to his advocacy for smaller government.
Paul also wrote that it is "impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them," turning to how "racial disparities" distort the criminal justice system:
Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth. 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.
The senator, who is considered a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, hasn't been coy about his attempts to appeal to a broader cross-section of voters by backing a voting rights bill and by criticizing federal drug policies that disproportionately affect minorities.
Read the rest of Paul's editorial here.
See more updates on the situation in Ferguson below: