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Mon Jun 25, 2012, 05:59 PM

Legal Aid Society Sues New York City over Bogus Pot Arrests


from AlterNet:


Legal Aid Society Sues New York City over Bogus Pot Arrests


It is no secret that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kellyís internal memo ordering his officers to follow the law on marijuana "in public view" arrests did not work -- and now the Legal Aid Society has filed a lawsuit accusing police of ignoring it. After Kellyís September order, the NYPD continued to uncover marijuana via routine stop-and-frisks, during which police either told suspects to empty their pockets and belongings or did so themselves. Even though the pot wasnít in public view until cops made it that way, they continued to charge people with the more serious crime of weed that is visible.

ďItís certainly a sad commentary that the commissioner can issue a directive that reads well on paper but on the street corners of the city doesnít exist,Ē said Legal Aidís attorney Steven Banks. Kellyís memo resulted in a temporary dip in marijuana arrests, but 2011 -- with more than 50,000 marijuana arrests -- was the second highest year for pot busts in New York City history. Almost 90% of those arrested were Black and Latino, the majority of them young men.

The lawsuit filed against the city and the Police Department Friday seeks the court to declare the practice illegal under state law and forbid officers from making the bogus arrests for which they should already be punished. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/991170/legal_aid_society_sues_new_york_city_over_bogus_pot_arrests/



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