Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders.
Under New York law, possession of 25g or less of marijuana [merely] brings a $100 fine. Only when the drugs are in public view are the police permitted to make an arrest for drug possession. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.
In September last year, Kelly issued an order to officers not to arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana. But the number of those arrested increased after the order was made. In all, about 50,000 people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession.
Reasons police stopped people who they subsequently arrested for marijuana included “furtive movements,” “suspicious bulges,” “being in a high crime area” and “other.” Legal experts and criminal justice scholars have claimed that stop and frisks-and the drug arrests that often result from them-routinely lead to fourth amendment violations and serve as pipeline for the nation’s bloated prison system.