RACIAL DISPARITY: Iowa Pot Possession Arrests

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A new study claims police arrest black people far more than white people for the same crime, with Iowa ranked worst in the nation.  The study by the ACLU showed blacks in Iowa are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites…even though both report using marijuana at the same rate.  The ACLU says that shows discrimination in law enforcement.

"We know from our own data keeping that African Americans are more likely to get arrested, they're more likely to spend time in jail before going to trial, they're more likely to be found guilty, they're more likely to receive a harsher penalty." says Randall Wilson with the ACLU of Iowa, "That's all the result of discretion by the police, by the prosecutor, by the jury, the judge."

"There's no effort on our part to arrest more blacks than anyone else, or Hispanics, or Asians or anything like that." says Des Moines Police Dept. spokesman Jason Halifax, "The numbers are what they are.  Obviously we can't change that and we're not going to massage the numbers to say something different.  They are what they are."

The ACLU says the numbers speak for themselves.  Blacks make up only three-point-one percent of Iowa's population, but they make up more than 25-percent of the state's prison population.

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