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Mark Watson is a YouTube star, veteran, and concerned citizen who witnessed the tension between police and communities leading up to the Ferguson protests. He asked a question at Thursday night’s Republican debate that likely has occupied many other young black men’s minds: What can we do to better protect both the communities and police?

Rand Paul’s answer started out miles ahead of many politicians by recognizing the roots of the issue. “A third of the budget for the city of Ferguson was being reaped by civil fines. People were being fined to death,” Paul explained.

Paul continued, “You or I, or many people in this audience, if we get [a] $100 fine, we can survive it. If you’re living on the edge of poverty and you get [a] $100 fine, or your car towed, a lot of times you lose your job.”

“In Ferguson, for every hundred African-American woman there are only sixty African-American men. Drug use is about equal between white and black. But our prisons, three out of four people are black or brown.”

Paul’s quick facts on the topic made his opening comment about “I’ve been trying to work for solutions to our criminal justice problem” believable instead of hot air.

“The war on drugs has disproportionately affected our African American community,” Paul said.

“I think something has to change. I think it’s a big thing that our party needs to be part of,” the senator added.

Kaylen Tanner About the author:
Kaylen Tanner is a associate editor for Rare. Follow her on Twitter @kaylen_tanner.
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