The Republican Governor of Maine, Paul LePage has made the claim that 90 percent of the drug dealers in his state are either of Black or Hispanic origin. He made the remark during a town hall event at North Berwick on Wednesday.
“I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison,” LePage said during the event, “but they come. And I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ring binder, are Black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn. I didn’t make the rules – I’m just telling you what’s happening.”
In a video released by The Portland Press Herald of a subsequent State House press conference, the governor said, “you know and I know and everybody in the state knows that the overwhelming majority of the people that have been arrested this year, coming out of Connecticut and New York, have been Black and Hispanic, it’s not a matter of race, it’s a matter of fact. Are there some white ones? Yes, there are some white people.”
The Maine branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has disputed this claim and states that statistics have shown that white people are more likely to sell drugs that other ethnicities.
“According to the governor, Maine police are nine times more likely to arrest people of color for selling drugs than white people, even though we know white people are just as likely to commit drug offenses. This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling,” Alison Beyea, Executive Director of ACLU Maine said in a statement.
This is not the first time that LePage has made decisive comments about race. In January he said that, “these are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys – they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”
He would later apologize and say that he had meant to say "Maine women" instead of "white women". He attributed his mistake by saying that 95 percent of Maine is white.