Friday, May 9, 2008

BLOOMBERG, NYC COPS RUN HAYWIRE WITH MASSIVE POT ARRESTS

NAT HENTOFF, VILLAGE VOCE I have never seen such systematic dishonesty and contempt for the law as those documented in the 102-page report, "Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City 1997-2007," by Professor Harry Levine of Queens College and Deborah Peterson Small, executive director of Break the Chains. In 2007 alone, there were 39,700 misdemeanor arrests for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But such possession hasn't been a crime in New York State since the Marijuana Reform Act of 1977. Under that law, which is still in effect, an offender can usually expect to get only a ticket, punishable by a fine of not more than $100.

But most of the 353,000 New Yorkers arrested for having these small amounts from 1997 to 2006 got much more than a ticket: They were handcuffed, photographed, and fingerprinted, held overnight, arraigned in criminal court, plagued with permanent criminal records, and charged with the crime of having marijuana "burning or open to public view.". . .

The report also notes. . . "Mayor Bloomberg and other prominent politicians [and the FBI] have urged collecting DNA from everyone arrested for anything whatsoever, including, therefore, marijuana possession."

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