New York police still racially profiling in thousands of pot possession cases


Flickr/Joi Ito.

New York state Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is sick and tired of watching the New York City police abuse their power while the mayor’s office does nothing but make empty promises. From January to March, police made more than 7,000 arrests for marijuana possession in NYC, and 86 percent black or Hispanic – all after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to right the increasingly crooked ship.

“The new administration promised change, but instead we got more of the same,” Jeffries said at a press conference yesterday. Jeffries pointed out that police are on track to make just as many arrests in 2014 as they did in 2013 when nearly 30,000 people were arrested for small amounts of pot.
Jeffries press conference came on the same day that de Blasio told the New York Daily News that he woudn’t support legalization though he said cops should focus on real crime and not pot.
But that’s not going to change any time soon as long as top brass as the NYPD consider the stop-and-frisk policy that leads to people being arrested for displaying otherwise decriminalized amounts of pot. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says the policy leads to overall crime prevention. “The idea of decriminalizing marijuana, I think, is a major mistake and something I will never support,” Bratton told NYC city council last week.
Someone should tell Bratton that marijuana possession of up to 25 grams is decriminalized in New York and has been since 1977. His cops are merely finding ways around the will of the people by arresting them for public display after being ordered to empty their pockets.
Jeffries called out Bratton in a letter this week to the NYPD:
“Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued an internal order to NYPD commanding officers to discontinue arresting individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana, if the substance was never in public view,” Jeffries said in the note. “Given the alarmingly high number of arrests that continue to be made by the NYPD, it appears that this directive has not been fully embraced by the officers now under your command.”