Through The Static

May 9, 2008

NYC’s Shady Weed Arrests

Filed under: Culture,Government,Race — disciplepete @ 3:07 pm

This article from Alternet talks about the very questionable methods used to bust primarily young Black and Latino men for marijuana possession in NYC. Check it out…

New York City has been the pot-bust capital of the world for a decade, since Rudolph Giuliani’s decision to make public toking a top police priority. A new study sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union says the city’s cannabis crackdown is both racist and fraudulent.

New York police have arrested almost 400,000 people for misdemeanor marijuana possession in the last decade. Last year, there were 39,700 such arrests. The vast majority of those seized have been black and Latino men, most under 25. And according to the NYCLU study, released last week, thousands of them are the victims of police scams, falsely charged with possession of marijuana “burning or open to public view.”…

…”We are confident in estimating that about two-thirds to three-quarters of the people arrested were not smoking marijuana,” the study says. “Usually they were doing their utmost to keep their marijuana concealed, generally deep inside their clothing.”…

A typical ruse is for police to stop someone near a suspected marijuana-sales site and tell them something along the lines of “We saw you coming out of the weed spot. If you have anything on you that you’re not supposed to have, give it to me and all I’ll give you is a ticket.” If the suspect falls for the ruse and hands over his marijuana, he is then arrested for displaying it in public view. Though most people charged with misdemeanor pot possession do not receive jail sentences, they often have to spend up to 24 hours in jail before arraignment, and they acquire a permanent arrest record…

Of the people arrested for misdemeanor pot possession from 1997 through 2006, five out of six were black or Latino, in a city that is almost half white and Asian. Nine out of ten were male, and most were aged 16 to 25…Though there is no evidence that black New Yorkers smoke more pot than white onesnationally, the rate of use among young adults is slightly higher for whites, at least according to government surveys — the city’s marijuana-arrest rate for blacks is more than five times what it is for whites.

Another worry is that the arrests tag thousands of young black and Latino men as criminals. The study terms the crackdown “Head Start for prison and unemployment.” The Head Start preschool program, it notes, intends to “familiarize and socialize young children in the routines and expectations of school systems”; the marijuana-arrest program works to “familiarize, socialize, and prepare disadvantaged black and Latino teenagers and young adults from poor neighborhoods for the routines and expectations of the police, court, jail, and prison system.”

I’ll offer one of multiple personal anecdotes I could provide on the topic of racist drug sentencing; I had a housemate who was busted for selling drugs, in pretty large amounts from what I understand, in his home state of Texas. He was White and from a well off and well known family in that area. Anyways, for his felony drug dealing, he did no time; his main punishment was that he had to leave the state. Meanwhile, he told me that Latinos who were facing the same charges as him got locked up.

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8 Comments »

  1. crazy shit!
    i thought new york city had worse things to worry about.

    good blog keep’em coming!

    Comment by gangtaf — May 10, 2008 @ 12:35 am | Reply

  2. thanx for stoppin by. your comment reminds me of Thurgood in Half Baked when he says “They call New York the city that never sleeps, but it sure takes a lotta fuckin weed naps!”

    Comment by disciplepete — May 10, 2008 @ 12:42 am | Reply

  3. DAMMIT! I was about to blog about this article! Damn you, Pete Doggles! DAMN YOU! ::shakes fist::

    Comment by Aliiiiiiice — May 10, 2008 @ 7:47 am | Reply

  4. Uh huh…and I was about to start Microsoft till Bill Gates stole my idea.

    Comment by disciplepete — May 10, 2008 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  5. no seriously! I had a brief outline in my head after reading it over twice and then I logged in and saw THIS.

    DISASTER.

    Comment by bobbleheadedbob — May 10, 2008 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  6. Well, looks like you got beat. Sometimes life imitates Scrabulous!

    Comment by disciplepete — May 10, 2008 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  7. u are the biggest jerkface on the PLANET. were you born that way, or are you just giving me special treatment?

    Comment by Aliiiiiiice — May 10, 2008 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  8. Aww, whenever I’m being a jerkface, you can rest assured I’m messing around. But anyway, look at comment #3….you damned me twice and shook your fist at me! And now you complain about me being a jerkface?? Don’t start no shit and there won’t be none! =)

    Ok I woke up way earlier than I should have…gonna try posting stuff, let’s see how this goes…

    Comment by disciplepete — May 11, 2008 @ 7:19 am | Reply


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