In a directive that came from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and that is being viewed through the prism of race, the NYPD has been told to stop arresting people for low-level amounts of weed, according to the New York Post.
And of course the Post’s sources are spinning this as a move de Blasio is making to try and build goodwill back with the minorities in the city. After all, blacks and Hispanics make up 86% of low-level weed arrests this year, the Post reports, and because police Chief William Bratton has publicly endorsed the “Broken Windows” policy, it’s aligned with the targeting of minorities for minor crimes.
All of this has cops in a tizzy. Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said:
If the current practice of making arrests for both possession and sale of marijuana is, in fact, abandoned, then this is clearly the beginning of the breakdown of a civilized society.
It’s counterproductive to the broken-windows theory. If we’re not making marijuana arrests, then we may not pop someone who has a warrant on them or who committed felony crimes.
If the department doesn’t want us to make marijuana arrests, they should introduce legislation to change the law.
What the cops don’t realize is that the state, since 1977, has been ahead of the curve when it decriminalized weed, albeit flawed. Even Bratton’s predecessor, Ray Kelly, at least made a move toward easing the amount of arrests. Yet largely because of the Stop-And-Frisk and “Broken Windows” enforcement, a large percentage of people were busted with small amounts of weed. It’s been a Catch-22, and this week’s directive, it seems, is looking to alleviate some of the stats.