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
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.