May 16, 2008

NYPD RACIST Cops Ignore 1977 Law, Disenfranchise Citizens, Illegally Collect DNA and Defile Mayor La Guardia's Legacy

If I understand Mr. Hentoff correctly, NYC citizens are being entrapped because of their generous natures! What kind of a world do we live in when cops, who say they are public servants and want to make life better for us all, instead just pretend to be friends in order to advance their status in the corrupt system? I hope you enjoy this Village Voice report from the forever righteous Nat Hentoff, followed by a bit of levity.

The NYPD's Secret Crusade Against Marijuana
Furthers a Racist Agenda
The Village Voice
by Nat Hentoff, May 6th, 2008 12:00 AM
[...] I have never seen such systematic dishonesty and contempt for the law as those documented in the 102-page report, "Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City 1997-2007," by Professor Harry Levine of Queens College and Deborah Peterson Small, executive director of Break the Chains.
In 2007 alone, there were 39,700 misdemeanor arrests for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But such possession hasn't been a crime in New York State since the Marijuana Reform Act of 1977. Under that law, which is still in effect, an offender can usually expect to get only a ticket, punishable by a fine of not more than $100.
But most of the 353,000 New Yorkers arrested for having these small amounts from 1997 to 2006 got much more than a ticket: They were handcuffed, photographed, and fingerprinted, held overnight, arraigned in criminal court, plagued with permanent criminal records, and charged with the crime of having marijuana "burning or open to public view."
Since most of these people arrested had the pot hidden in a pocket, backpack, or purse, how did these stop-and-frisks turn into an arrest for "burning" marijuana" or having it "open to public view"?
As "Marijuana Arrest Crusade" demonstrates, this is done "by tricking and intimidating" suspects to take out the concealed marijuana, so that police officers can then claim they saw it "open to public view." In fact, a longtime Legal Aid supervisor quoted in the study says that this process happens "all the time." And such routine deception by the police to set someone up for arrest on a criminal-misdemeanor charge is perfectly legal.
[...] There is much more detailed information in the report on the impact of these arrests, which—as described in last week's column— greatly and disproportionately affect black and Latino youths. [my bold, throughout] Part 7, "Head Start for Unemployment and Prison," notes that these arrests "can limit the opportunity for young people to obtain employment and access to some schools, and for student aid."
The report also notes something that I've pointed out in this space before: "Mayor Bloomberg and other prominent politicians [and the FBI] have urged collecting DNA from everyone arrested for anything whatsoever, including, therefore, marijuana possession."
–The findings come—as the tables and graphs demonstrate—from arrest data compiled by New York State and the FBI, along with "interviews with police, public defenders, legal aid attorneys, private attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and people arrested for possessing marijuana."
[...] The report points out that the "39,700 misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests" in 2007 were "the fourth largest number of arrests in New York history." And yet, "because the New York Police Department has released almost no information about these arrests, they have attracted little media attention. To this day, few New Yorkers know that for over a decade their city has been on a historically unprecedented marijuana arrest crusade."
[...] In the March 24 edition of The New York Sun—in the article "Turf War Between NYPD and FBI Centers on Terrorism," by Dafna Linzer—Commissioner Kelly, ironically enough, is quoted as follows: "People have information, and they want to control information. Controlling information is power, and they don't want to let it go—it is as fundamental as that."
Also fundamental is Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis's requirement for combating official lawlessness in a free society: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
Will the sunlight of public exposure finally begin to disinfect the NYPD, which under this rancid policy—promulgated by several New York mayors and police commissioners—has been contemptuously violating the letter and the intent of the Marijuana Reform Act for 10 straight years? [...]

"The Father of the Drug War"
Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1962,blunt-justice,433852,4.html
It's Friday night. Here's a little fun, courtesy of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who offers common sense and a defense for rational lawmaking and
the Mickey Mouse of law enforcement, Harry Anslinger, via voice over by [I think?] Woody Harrelson, and Cannamation Films.

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