Baltimore Mayor 'Appalled' at Disproportionate Marijuana Arrest Rates for African Americans
Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 10:23 PM EST
After Gubernatorial candidate Delegate Heather Mizeur blasted Baltimore City's latest arrest data for minor marijuana offenses as "shameful" and racially biased, the Mayor says she is "appalled" by the numbers.
"I do not support marijuana legalization and am absolutely appalled at the disproportionate high arrest rates for African Americans," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in an emailed statement to FOX45. "I believe the disproportionate rates say more about the inequity in our criminal justice system than it does about a need to legalize marijuana because we know African Americans are not the only ethic group using the substance."
The latest figures released by the police department show African-Americans comprised 91% of minor marijuana arrests in 2013, numbers which State Del. Mizeur called both bad policy and discriminatory. According to latest US Census data 63.6% of the population in the city is African-American.
"We can continue to look for other ways than legalization or mass arrests to deal with marijuana, but we shouldn't confuse those efforts with what our focus must be in fighting crime which is removing the most violent repeat offenders from our streets," Rawlings-Blake said.
Last year the city arrested a total 6,410 people for minor possession of marijuana.