Paul: Blame politicians for Garner’s death

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria Ana Navarro clashes with Rand Paul in fiery exchange: 'Don't mansplain!' MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that politicians are to blame for the events that led to Eric Garner’s death.

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“Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes … then, some politician also had to direct the police to arrest people for selling loose cigarettes,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “For someone to die over breaking that law, there really is no excuse for it. But I do blame politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws.”

A grand jury in New York on Wednesday said it would not charge a white New York police officer in the choking death of Garner, a black man they suspected of selling cigarettes illegally. The incident has inflamed racial tensions in the wake of a grand jury decision not to charge another white officer for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

The Department of Justice is launching a civil rights investigation into Garner’s death. Democrats on Capitol Hill are furious with the New York grand jury decision, but at least one Republican, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), has defended the decision as well as the actions the officers took.

“There was no indication they intended to choke him,” King said.