WISCONSIN: Police in Madison arrest or cite blacks for marijuana offenses at about 12 times the rate they punish whites, according to data analyzed by the Wisconsin State Journal.
The State Journal examined 18 months of police drug arrests for its report Sunday. The newspaper said the disparity comes despite national surveys that show blacks and whites use pot at about the same rate. The State Journal also noted that blacks in Madison make up more than half the people arrested or cited on marijuana charges, despite accounting for only about 7 percent of the city population.
Police Chief Mike Koval called the numbers evidence of racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and said he supports legalizing marijuana.
“The crusade on marijuana has been a palpable failure; an abject failure,” he said. “So let’s acknowledge the failure for what it is, and rededicate ourselves to … a better way to deal with people who have addictions.”