Maine Gov. Paul LePage's Drug Dealer Binder Reveals Deep Racial Bias

By McCarton Ackerman 09/28/16

The governor's recently released 148-page drug-dealer binder disproves his racially biased claims. 

Maine Gov. Paul LePage's Drug Dealer Binder Reveals Deep Racial Bias
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Maine Gov. Paul LePage finally released his controversial binder of reported drug dealers, but in doing so, exposed his own lies regarding drug crime and race in the Pine Tree State.

In August, the governor said his binder of photos proved that 90% of drug dealers in the state were African American or Hispanic. In response, numerous media outlets and human rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, put in public records requests to see the binder.

But when the 148-page document was released to the public on Monday, it showed that the percentage of black or Hispanic people in it was closer to 40%.

The Portland Press Herald reported that 93 people are profiled in the binder, which is a personal compiling of newspaper clippings, press releases, courtroom photos and mug shots. The individuals in the binder were arrested this year on charges that include trafficking methamphetamine, heroin and crack.

However, only 37 of the 93 people in the book appear to be black or Hispanic, while the rest appear to be white, according to the Press Herald

LePage “used his false claims as the basis for calling people of color the enemy,” said ACLU of Maine Executive Director Alison Beyea in a statement. “Whether or not his assertions were deliberately misleading, they were dangerous and racist.”

Beyea also objected to LePage using a personal collection of press clippings as the basis for his statements when much more legitimate information was available to him.

“The governor has multiple agencies at his disposal that collect arrest data in Maine,” she said. “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.”

In addition to LePage’s inaccurate "90%" comment, which he made last month during a town hall in North Berwick, the governor also made equally outrageous comments in January at a town hall in Bridgton. LePage insinuated that minority drug dealers from out of state were responsible for bringing in heroin and then impregnating white women before they left.

“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,” said LePage in January. “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.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.