The following chart was compiled with data provided to the Peace and Social Justice Center’s Jobs and Education Not Incarceration [JENI] after the group filed a Kansas Open Records Act request for the information.
On average, over the years highlighted, people who identify as black made up roughly 11% of Wichita’s population, yet account for significantly more than 11% of the marijuana arrests made by the Wichita Police Department.
According to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a non-profit organization founded by former law enforcement officers, judges, and prosecutors, black people only account for 13.8% of illicit drug users in the United States. White people account for 72% of the illicit drug users in the United States.
Yet, here in Wichita, black people account for far more than 11% of the marijuana arrests.
The Racial Profiling Advisory Board submitted 100 credible allegations of racial profiling to the WPD, but the WPD denied all 100 allegations. The perception is that the department is denying the existence of racial profiling in Wichita.
Marijuana arrests also account for the majority of drug arrests in all years covered. Cocaine, meth, heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), and prescription pain medicine account for the vast majority of drug abuse related deaths, yet resources are spent targeting marijuana users.
A recent ballot initiative in Wichita was passed by a margin of 54-46%, reducing the penalties for first time possession of small amounts of marijuana to an infraction punishable by no more than a fifty dollar fine, but Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has filed suit to prevent the implementation of the new law, a law which was approved by the Wichita voters.