After another shooting a few days ago of a second black citizen by police officers, Sen. Rand Paul went to Ferguson, Mo. Friday, to meet with black leaders in the area, including leaders of the local NAACP chapter.
While in Ferguson, Paul took part in a 45-minute “listening session,” which has been described as a more informal question and answer session. Paul was joined by local pastors, business owners, and representatives from other social change groups, such as the Urban League, at this session.
“I came to Ferguson today to listen to leaders in the community and to learn more about how we can fix the problems of criminal injustice together,” said Paul, according to the Daily Caller.
During the session, one person asked Paul if he thought a more diverse policing force would help with the issue of racial tensions between police and black communities across the country. Paul responded by saying if people wanted to see change, they should vote appropriately at the ballot boxes.
“My opinion is they have a great deal of power and if they wanted an African-American police chief they’d get it in one election if they just go vote for the mayor and register people,” Paul said, according to Politico. “Violence gets nowhere and it actually sends us backwards… If that energy, and some anger, if that were channeled into registering voters and getting people out to vote, then you can have constructive changes.”
After Michael Brown was shot over the summer in Ferguson, about 3,200 people in Ferguson, which is about a seventh of the population, have registered to vote in the upcoming elections.
Liberal registration booths were setup near where Brown was shot in Ferguson, and this has made some Republicans upset, saying this has only fanned “political flames.”
Paul on the other hand, has said he is not concerned about party lines and simply wants to get more people to vote.