The NYPD’s stop and frisk campaign led directly to the surge in low-level marijuana arrests, figures released today by the New York Civil Liberties Union show.
For context, marijuana arrests are the top arrest category in the entire stop and frisk program. Last year, five percent–or 26,000–of all stops were for suspected possession of marijuana. Despite the fact that whites use marijuana at a higher rate, blacks by far bore the brunt of those stops–61 percent, in all. Incredibly, just 9 percent of marijuana-based stop involved white folks.
Here’s the kicker: misdemeanor law requires that the pot be in plain view, and cops can only stop people they actually see with marijuana, and yet, the drug was seized in just 8.5 percent of the stops, which means cops were either wrong or willfully wrong in the other 91.5 percent.
The numbers, the NYCLU says, “strongly suggest that officers are stopping people for alleged marijuana offenses without any justification.”
Out of those 26,000 stops, just over 5,300 resulted in marijuana arrests.
“Despite the NYPD’s repeated claim that its stop-and-frisk program is valuable because it targets guns, the facts show that it is much more a marijuana arrest program,” the NYCLU says.