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

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…