NYC: pot arrests down following police commish order

Posted on December 9th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York CityArrests for low-level pot possession dropped in the weeks after New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly warned officers not to make arrests for small quantities found in pockets or bags, according to new data released Dec. 7. Kelly issued the internal order Sept. 19 after claims from civil rights groups that officers were wrongly arresting people in a state where personal possession is punishable with a fine. There are more arrests on cannabis charges—about 50,000 a year—than any other crime in New York City. Pot cases account for about one of every seven that turn up in criminal courts.

The numbers are driven by the department's aggressive stop-and-frisk strategy, critics say. More than 450,000, mostly Black and Latino men, have been stopped so far this year. About 10% of stops result in arrests. But instead of finding weapons when pockets or bags are empited, officers more often find cannabis—and are accused of wrongly making arrests.

Kelly’s order stated that officers are not to arrest on misdemeanor possession charges for marijuana that were not in public view—ostensibly a reminder of pre-existing department policy. In the nine weeks after the directive, there were 7,925 arrests—13% fewer than the same period last year. (AP via NY Daily News, Dec. 7)



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