LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center breaking down data regarding marijuana possession arrests in Louisiana, specifically taking a close look at the race of those arrested.
According to the study, in Louisiana, an African-American is more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession versus a white person.
The data showed of the ten agencies with the highest marijuana possession arrests, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office ranked fourth in the ratio between black and white suspects, but Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory says those numbers aren't right.
"Sometimes you can make numbers appear to be whatever you choose for them to be," Guillory said.
Guillory disagrees with the numbers which reportedly use data sent to the FBI in 2016 by Louisiana law enforcement. It claims the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office was 3.5 times as likely to arrest a black person for marijuana possession than a white person.
“I don’t thinks that’s an accurate description of the way we police our community,” Guillory said.
Guillory, who’s been with the Sheriff’s Office for 15 years, says racial profiling is not a problem within the department.
“Our responsibility, is number one to be professional to the community,” Guillory said. “We feel like we go out there and do the right thing within our department.”
Guillory says they have a strict policy against profiling.
“We don’t condone, if we find out one of our employees is out there doing that,” Guillory said. “We are going to take the necessary actions to assure he is disciplined appropriately.”
As far as the numbers go, the Sheriff’s Office reports of the 590 marijuana arrests in 2016, 314 were white suspects and 268 were black.
“We go out there and investigate crime, if it leads us to a black person, a white person, and Asian person, that’s the person we are going to arrest,” Guillory said.
Deputy Guillory says they have always worked to have a strong and trusting relationship with the community and will continue to do so.
To see the study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, visit their website.