NY Governor Cuomo Aims to Stop Bloomberg's Illegal Pot Arrests

 Outrage about stop-and-frisk policing in NYC has reached an all-time high, and for good reason—more young black men were targeted in 2011 than actually live in the five boroughs, for one alarming fact. Activist pressure has finally gotten leaders to a point of publicly talking about solutions, with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo supporting efforts to stop stop-and-frisk. And it looks like NYC Mayor Bloomberg, whose policies created the situation in the first place, is finally ready to hear the criticism. The NY Times:

Mr. Cuomo plans to urge lawmakers to change state law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view, an offense that critics say leads to unfair charges against thousands of people who are ordered to empty their pockets during police stops that have proliferated under the Bloomberg administration's stop-and-frisk practice.

Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had previously defended low-level marijuana arrests as a way to deter more serious crime, said in a statement that the governor’s proposal “strikes the right balance” in part because it would still allow the police to arrest people who were smoking marijuana in public.

Cuomo's plan would reduce low-level weed possession from a misdemeanor to a violation, carrying fines rather than jailtime. Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will be in attendance at a news conference announcing the proposal, though he was still talking in draconian, disconnected language. “Thanks to the N.Y.P.D.," he said, "our city has come a long way from the days when marijuana was routinely sold and smoked on our streets without repercussions." Uh, NYC was Amsterdam?! When was that, and why didn't we get the memo?


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 4, 2012, 8:29am

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