There’s no evidence to support Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s outrageous allegation that Blacks and Hispanics make up more than 90 percent of drug traffickers into his state. The Denver Post reports that an Associated Press analysis of FBI data finds that the real figure is far lower.
LePage came under fire in January when he said drug traffickers from New York City and Connecticut, with names like D-Money and Shifty (code for Black), come to Maine and get young White girls pregnant before leaving the state. He reignited furor in August when he said “90-plus percent” of the traffickers are Black and Hispanic, and he has pictures of them in a three-ringed binder.
The Associated Press checked out his claim and found that the governor’s statistics are not based on any real data.
According to the AP, the Maine Department of Public Safety does not compile crime data based on race.
Furthermore, the FBI’s data for 2014 shows that Blacks accounted for 14 percent of drug sale and manufacturing arrests in Maine. And for total drug arrests in Maine, African-Americans represent 7.4 percent of arrests—nowhere close to LePage’s 90 percent.
The Washington Post reported a different study with similar findings. It said that Whites use drugs at the same rate as Blacks, and Whites are more likely to sell drugs. Yet, Blacks get arrested at a disproportionately higher rate for possessing and selling narcotics.
Jack McDevitt, director of Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice, told the AP that racial profiling is one of the factors that explains the disproportionate rate of high drug-related arrests and convictions of African-Americans.
Meanwhile, Gov. LePage announced that he’s no longer talking to the media, and he has declined requests from the AP and others to view the contents of his binder.