|“You know the Bronx is up and I’m Brooklyn down.” -MCA|
Police in New York City just don’t get it. Nobody likes their racially-biased marijuana law enforcement nor is their abuse of a legal loophole to put people in jail for otherwise decriminalized amounts of pot going to be tolerated much longer.
They are hearing that message a little louder this week as the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said they weren’t going to be pursuing low-level possession cases anymore. Police, predictably, are against the move – even though they’ll still be able to arrest people.
According to the memorandum sent from the DA’s office to the New York Police Department can still arrest people with lengthy criminal records and those people caught smoking in public places near children and see the cases through. But cops arresting people for simple possession of pot will have their cases tossed.
District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said that the policy is meant to keep “people of color” out of the court and criminal systems.
“Obtaining a conviction against the defendant does not advance public safety with fairness and justice, and, indeed, might well sabotage that goal,” Thompson wrote in the memo.
Cops say that the pot arrests are needed and that they take a “broken windows” approach to patrolling. They also complain that cops in the other four boroughs aren’t going to have to follow the same policies. In fact, they have pretty much told Thompson to shove is new policy where the sun doesn’t shine.
“However, in order to be effective, our police officers must enforce the laws of the State of New York uniformly throughout all five boroughs of the city,” NY Police Commissioner William Bratton told the NY Times. “Accordingly, the Kings County policy change will not result in any changes in the policies and procedures of the N.Y.P.D.”
According to the ACLU, blacks and people of color are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in New York than whites.