Maine Gov. Paul LePage has been keeping a binder of photos that he said shows “90-plus percent” of the drug dealers arrested in Maine are black or Hispanic, but people of those races accounted for only 40 percent of those pictured in the notebook when it was released to the public yesterday, reports the Portland Press Herald. The 148-page document includes press releases, newspaper clippings, and jail booking and courtroom photos of people charged with trafficking heroin, methamphetamine, crack, and other drugs in Maine since January. The photos in the binder show men and women of several races, and some of the pages include handwritten notes by LePage.
The governor’s office released the contents in response to public records requests from the media and other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. Neither LePage nor his staff has explained why it’s important to identify the race of a drug dealer. Of the 93 people pictured in the binder, 37 appear to be either black or Hispanic, or about 40 percent of all the photos, while 56, or about 60 percent, appear to be white. The photos do not support LePage’s statement that “90-plus percent of those pictures” in the binder are of black or Hispanic drug dealers from Connecticut and New York.