Statistics show Caucasians smoke just as much weed as other races. But why are the overwhelming majority of those arrested Black and Latino?
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has admitted that there is a “troubling” racial gap in their system but defended their enforcement efforts. They say they’re responding to residents complaining about people smoking pot, The New York Daily News reported.
The NYPD expressed their defense following a City Council’s hearing Monday over the recent glaring stats.
Around 86 percent of the 17,500 arrests last year over marijuana possession were blacks and Latinos in New York. However, there was a 40 percent drop since 2013 in arrests after Mayor de Blasio ordered most people caught with pot in their possession to get a summons instead of getting arrested.
But cops continue to arrest people they find smoking marijuana in public.
“Clearly that’s troubling, and it should be troubling to anyone, including me,” said Dermot Shea, the NYPD’s chief of crime control strategies.
Some are also saying that the current administration is not “serious” to make any profound changes.
“The racial disparities have not changed one bit, and arrests are still too common in communities of color,” said Councilman Donovan Richards, chair of the public safety committee. “If the administration is serious about changing this disparity, we’re not seeing it.”
Shea said cops are making arrests in areas where they’re getting a lot of 911 and 311 calls about public pot smoking.
“Where the arrests are made, I believe, are where the complaints are,” Shea said.
The NYPD, meanwhile, could not produce any data on complaints.