Writer defends LePage's depiction of the ethnic background of drug offenders


(Regarding Portland Press Herald coverage of Gov. Paul LePage's comments regarding drug trafficking:)

You and your fellow PPH reporters persist in retelling this half-truth: " ... only 14 percent of the 1,211 people charged with making or selling all types of drugs in 2014 — the last year for which FBI Criminal Justice Information Service data is available — were black."

These figures are meaningless and misleading unless the percentages of whites and blacks in Maine's population are factored in. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, whites comprised 94.5 percent of Maine's population in 2015 and blacks 1.4 percent. Yet 14.1 percent — 170 — of those arrested were black. Thus, blacks arrested exceeded their percentage of Maine's population by 12.7 percent, or 153 individuals, which is nine times their numerical representation of Maine's population.

And whites arrested were less than their numerical representation of the state's population. This means that blacks are significantly more likely than whites to sell or make drugs in Maine.

It is highly unlikely that most of those arrested were Maine residents or that they came from Mars.

This is statistical evidence to support the governor's "theory" that 90 percent of heroin traffickers arrested in Maine were black or Hispanic and that they came from other states.

FBI data reveals that blacks commit violent crimes at a disproportionately higher rate than whites nationally in nearly every crime category.

Facts don't come in different colors.

Walter Eno


Last modified onMonday, 12 September 2016 11:14