New York City has lengthy been underneath strain to reform its policing. A couple of months in the past, the New York Police Department launched some alarming statistics displaying that an awesome majority of individuals arrested for marijuana have been individuals of shade. Since then, the City Council dominated that the NYPD should publish arrest knowledge. Today at a Washington DC convention, Major De Blasio introduced the “overhaul and reform” of New York’s marijuana enforcement legal guidelines.
Rampant Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests
In 2017, there have been over 17,000 marijuana arrests. Black and Hispanic individuals represented 86 % of these arrested, based on a report revealed by the Drug Policy Alliance & Marijuana Arrest Research Project. It seems solely at knowledge from 2014 to 2016.
Comparatively, solely 53 % of New York City residents determine as Black or Hispanic per a 2010 census.
These figures have already spurred change on the City Council degree. In a public listening to on this challenge, the NYPD claimed that they reply complaints relying solely on who calls them. They maintained that sure neighborhoods report extra to the police, subsequently sure communities have greater arrest charges.
Some City Councilmembers took concern with this rationalization. Councilman Donovan Richards stated, “I refuse to believe that in New York City, a city of eight and a half million, that the only individuals calling 911 or 311 on this issue are people in communities in color.”
New York Is Publishing Arrest Data
The City Council unanimously voted for a invoice mandating that the NYPD publish arrest knowledge on-line. The NYPD web site reviews the quantity of low-level marijuana possession arrests per quarter and the place these arrests happened. It additionally divides knowledge by ethnicity, gender, and age.
Mayor de Blasio Responds To This Report
As the mayor of New York who ran on a platform of rectifying racial inequalities in policing, Mayor de Blasio is dealing with pointed criticism. The report revealed by the Drug Policy Alliance is even titled “60,000 Jim Crow Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio’s New York.”
Mayor de Blasio’s speech at this yr’s Center for American Progress’s Ideas Conference addresses these considerations. He begins by explaining that there are fewer arrests on the entire. “Crime is down four years in a row in our city,” he tells the viewers. “At the same time, we had 100,000 fewer arrests than just four years ago.”
This is because of a brand new policing technique he calls “neighborhood policing.” In brief, cops work in particular neighborhoods, somewhat than shifting between them. The NYPD’s goal is to determine a connection between the police and the residents. De Blasio quotes NYPD Chief of Police Terry Monahan: “We had to invent an entirely new type of policing.”
After enumerating the modifications his workplace orchestrated, the Mayor admits that there are nonetheless widespread points with policing. He pledges, “We must and we will end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement.”
The NYPD Will Be Making Big Changes
De Blasio claims that this can translate to concrete change. Followed by a spherical of applause, the Mayor declared, “Today I’m announcing that the NYPD will overhaul and reform its policies related to marijuana enforcement in the next thirty days.”
He expressed that this problem displays poorly on New York as an entire. “Nothing speaks to the quality of society more than whether people are policed fairly,” he explains. “If they feel they aren’t treated fairly, it’s the ultimate inditement, the ultimate condemnation of society.”
De Blasio didn’t go into specifics on what this overhaul will imply. He closed an uplifting notice—”I really feel like we’re seeing issues we by no means noticed earlier than”—earlier than exiting the stage.
Though we have now but to listen to what these modifications shall be, the tide could also be shifting with regards to marijuana in New York. Cynthia Nixon, a Sex and the City icon, introduced her candidature for governor and her plan to legalize marijuana. Widespread help for her following this announcement pushed present Governor Cuomo to relent on his anti-marijuana stance, and pledge to “make a decision based on the facts.”
While marijuana continues to be policed in New York, we wait to see what “overhaul and reform” will imply for the NYPD.