Seattle cop issues 80% of city’s marijuana tickets in 2014


Earlier this week I shared this BoingBoing post on Twitter and Facebook. Though it’s of particular interest to those of us in Seattle, it should be read by everyone whose government still believes in the efficacy of Drug War policies. It’s just the latest of a long history of examples demonstrating how such policies harm us and are a major waste of taxpayer money. Though the level of corruption displayed may come as a surprise to some, to those who have tracked the history of the war on (some) drugs, there’s been worse cases that have occurred and are likely still happening (especially in parts of the world with harsher drug laws than in Seattle). The full text of the news story linked on BoingBoing is reposted below:

From CBC News

Seattle cop issues 80% of city’s marijuana tickets in 2014

Officer reassigned after handing out 66 of 83 citations

The Seattle Police Department has reassigned an officer who single-handedly issued about 80 per cent of the marijuana tickets handed out in the city during the first half of this year, authorities said on Wednesday.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said staff reviewing data to prepare the department’s first biannual report on marijuana enforcement found that 66 of 83 citations for public pot use were given out by just one officer.

“In some instances, the officer added notes to the tickets,” O’Toole said in a statement, adding that some of the notes requested the attention of City Attorney Peter Holmes and were addressed to “Petey Holmes.”

In one case, she said, “the officer indicated he flipped a coin when contemplating which subject to cite.”

In another, O’Toole added, he referred to Washington’s voter-approved changes to marijuana laws as “silly.”

African-Americans ticketed more often

Washington state voted in 2012 to legalize the sale of cannabis to adults for recreational use but does not allow it to be used in public places.

She said the officer’s actions were reported to the police’s Office of Professional Accountability, and that he will not perform patrol duties while an investigation takes place.

The six-month report, which was released last week, found African Americans in Seattle were ticketed disproportionately to their population for using pot in public.

The police department said 36 per cent of the tickets were issued to African-Americans, who make up just eight per cent of the city’s population.

A spokesman said the SPD recognized the numbers were disproportionate, and O’Toole reiterated on Wednesday that the study was designed to provide more oversight and to flag “anomalies or outliers” in Seattle’s marijuana enforcement.


Related article: Why We Can’t Wage War on Drugs


One response to “Seattle cop issues 80% of city’s marijuana tickets in 2014

  1. Pingback: Seattle Prosecutor Drops All Marijuana Tickets in First 7 Months of the Year |·

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