Drugs

One Racist Cop Made 80% of Seattle’s Marijuana Citations This Year

And 36 percent of the tickets he wrote were issued to African Americans.

Photo Credit: Christos Georghiou / Shutterstock.com

While the state of Washington legalized private marijuana use last year and opened up recreational pot shops early last month, law enforcement has continued to cite people for smoking in public and other pot-related activities that remain prohibited. In the state’s largest city, 83 marijuana citations were given in the first half of 2014. However, as evidenced in the Seattle Police Department’s biennial report, just one cop with a racist vendetta was responsible for 66 (80 percent) of those citations.

The police department told Reuters, “36 percent of the tickets were issued to African-Americans, who make up just eight percent of the city's population.”

The Seattle PD made note of the disproportionate arrests of black people in a statement to the press.

In a report on Marijuana.com, Jay Arthur dubbed the cop “the Javier Bardem of marijuana,” noting that the officer appears to have taken pleasure in issuing marijuana citations and “once referred to Washington’s newfound marijuana laws as ‘silly.’”

Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole reported that once, the police officer flipped a coin to decide whom to cite for pot. The officer, who is being kept anonymous, was reported to Seattle’s Office of Professional Accountability and removed from patrol pending internal investigation.

April M. Short is a yoga teacher and writer who previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor. She currently works part-time for AlterNet, and freelances for a number of publications nationwide. 

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