Augusta – Gov. LePage made false statements about the number of people arrested in Maine for dealing drugs who are Black or Hispanic, according to the ACLU of Maine. The group came to that conclusion after examining the contents of a binder released by the governor’s office, which the governor claimed contained photos of “every single drug dealer arrested in Maine.” The governor went on to claim that 90 percent of those arrested were Black or Hispanic. At a subsequent press conference, the governor called Black and Hispanic people the enemy.
The ACLU of Maine filed a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request for the binder. The governor’s office today released a CD containing 148 photocopied pages, including a combination of newspaper clippings, photos and emails from Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety. While the binder paints an incomplete picture of the nature of drug arrests in Maine, it clearly does not support the governor’s assertion about the race of drug dealers.
The following can be attributed to Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine:
“The governor greatly exaggerated the percentage of people arrested for dealing drugs who are Black or Hispanic. He then used his false claims as the basis for calling people of color the enemy. Whether or not his assertions were deliberately misleading, they were dangerous and racist.
“The governor has multiple agencies at his disposal that collect arrest data in Maine. It is outrageous that he would rely on an incomplete collection of newspaper clippings and emails to make false, inaccurate accusations about people of color. It’s time for the governor to stop using people of color as a scapegoat for Maine’s drug problem, and to start proposing real solutions based on actual facts.”