Gov. LePage's comments about blacks, Hispanics ignite new controversy
NORTH BERWICK (WGME) -- Governor Paul LePage talked crime and race at Wednesday night's town hall, claiming 90 percent of drug dealers coming into Maine are black or Hispanic.
The comment came after one man in the audience accused the governor of creating a "toxic" environment for racists in the state.
The governor took a lot of questions from residents at Wednesday night's town hall, but maybe the one that struck a chord the most with the governor was one from a resident who questioned his political correctness on recent racial comments.
"The fact of the matter is, sir, I am not a racist and I don't promote it," LePage said.
The man who was questioning the governor says he's an entrepreneur, but feels the LePage doesn't stand up to racists.
The man was referencing comments made earlier this year by LePage, where he said black drug dealers, named D-Money and Shifty, were coming to Maine from out of state.
"Ever since I made that comment I've been collecting every single drug dealer that has been arrested in our state,” LePage said. “Sir you are welcome to come look at it."
LePage says through the photos he’s collected, a large portion reflects his comments.
"90 percent of the photos in my book, and it's a three ring binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn," LePage said.
The ACLU released a statement to CBS 13 Wednesday night about the governor's comments:
"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. We look forward to working with the governor to end any unconstitutional racial profiling that may be occurring."
"You can say white, black, purple, green, white or orange,” LePage said. “The fact of the matter is people from Connecticut and New York are coming to Maine and are killing our citizens."
The governor says he hopes to continue to have an open dialogue with his constituents. He has another town hall scheduled for next Wednesday as well.