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Significant Racial Bias Found In Milwaukee County's Felony Marijuana Arrests


An analysis of felony second offense marijuana possession in Milwaukee County has found a troubling pattern. Of the 95 stops where no other crime was being committed, 86 percent of the people arrested were African-American.

The number is startling in a county where African-Americans makeup only 25 percent of the population, and the circumstances of some of the arrests seemed questionable.

"We heard one story from a lawyer who told us that the officer scraped a few remnants off a car carpet so the person could get busted for second offense marijuana," says Gretchen Schuldt, the executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, which conducted the research. 

Schuldt discusses some of the specific arrests with Lake Effect's​ Joy Powers, and a pending advisory referendum that will gauge public interest in marijuana legalization. 

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect. Before then, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm Chicago Public Radio.