Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) visited Ferguson, Missouri, on Friday, the first potential 2016 presidential contender to do so.
Paul told Time that he wanted to "find out what we could do to make the situation better." His statement comes after protests and unrest in Ferguson continue to rage on in the wake of the August police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
During his visit, Paul met with local and civil rights leaders at a meeting organized by the NAACP. Paul expressed reservations about U.S. policies concerning "long prison sentences for nonviolent crimes, the loss of voting rights for felons, and military programs to give unused equipment to local police departments," Time's Michael Scherer reported from Ferguson. Paul also told the audience that he would support federal spending on job training by lowering criminal sentencing, cutting down on incarceration costs.
"Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them," Paul wrote in an op-ed for Time earlier this year.