Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said Wednesday that for the past seven months he has been keeping a dossier of drug dealers arrested in his state to justify an earlier comment linking drugs and race.
In a January conversation about Maine’s heroin problem, LePage said “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” bring drugs from New York and Connecticut and “impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”
At a town hall in North Berwick on Wednesday, the Portland Press Herald reported, a man who identified himself as a businessman from New York asked the governor how the state could attract investment given the “toxic environment” created by LePage’s comments.
“I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state. Now, ever since I said that comment I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state,” LePage said, adding the man would be welcome to see the binder. (You can hear the exchange on the Portland Press Herald’s website.)
“I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come,” LePage said. “And I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book ― and it’s a three-ringed binder ― are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn.”
The New Yorker then asked LePage if Maine police might be racially profiling their arrestees. LePage responded by repeating the thing about white girls.
“There are a whole lot of white girls, too, a whole lot of white girls,” LePage said. “In fact, in almost every single picture is a white Maine girl in the picture.”
It’s not clear how there’s a white girl in every photo if 90 percent of the pictures are of black and Hispanic people. A LePage spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Maine chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the governor’s comments in a statement.
“White people are statistically more likely to sell drugs than black people, yet according to the governor police in Maine are nine times more likely to arrest black people for doing so,” the Maine ACLU said on Twitter. “We don’t know what’s behind this disparity, but we look forward to working with the governor to end any unconstitutional racial profiling that may be occurring.”