Police spent 1 million hours arresting people for pot: Report

Marijuana seized from Olney home
(Credit: Rikard Larma)

More than 400,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in New York City during the last decade, according to a new report.

And cops spent about 1 million hours of their time arresting 440,000 people for pot, adds the report, released today by the Drug Policy Alliance.

“Police have squandered 1 million hours to make racially biased, costly and unlawful marijuana possession arrests,” Drug Policy Alliance state director Gabriel Sayegh said. “This is scandalous.”

The group has been one of several to criticize the NYPD for booking New Yorkers found with pot in their pocket. Advocates say many arrests result from NYPD officers stopping and searching New Yorkers, not people smoking on sidewalks.

In 2011, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly sent a memo telling officers not to arrest people for having small amounts of marijuana that was not in public view.

This week, state legislators are reportedly considering a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would make the penalty for having a small amount of marijuana in public view a violation instead of a misdemeanor.

According to the report, the amount of cops’ time used for a pot arrest varied from two hours to five hours, sometimes longer.

After an arrest, police must bring back the handcuffed person, book them, take photographs and fingerprints and write a report. They also check the person’s data against criminal databases, researchers said.

Researchers noted that this calculation does not include time from officials like corrections, court or prosecution staff.

About 70 percent of people arrested for marijuana are younger than 30, according to the report.

And more than 85 percent are black and Latino, researchers said.

“We cannot afford to continue arresting tens of thousands of youth every year for low-level marijuana possession,” said Alfredo Carrasquillo, an organizer with VOCAL-NY.

Carrasquillo told Metro about spending two days in jail after Harlem cops pulled him aside and found a bag of marijuana.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.