By Gregg McQueen
New Yorkers of color are being targeted over whites for marijuana arrests, according to a police reform advocacy group.
Citing statistics from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) said that 93 percent of marijuana possession arrests in the first three months of this year involved blacks and Hispanics.
“These stats reflect an undeniable reality. People of color are being unfairly targeted by police when it comes to these arrests,” said PROP Director Robert Gangi. “No matter how much [Mayor Bill] de Blasio wants to spin it that the police target behavior and not people of color, this data indicates racist and discriminatory practices by the NYPD.”
Arrests for pot possession were the third most common type of offense in the first three months of the year. The NYPD made nearly 4,100 such arrests from January to March of 2018.
Gangi said that people of color are being singled out for marijuana collars, despite research showing that white people use and sell the drug in equal or greater proportions than African American and Latinos.
“There have been studies done in that regard,” he said. “It’s not like people of color are the ones using all the marijuana.”
Arrest data indicates a years-long trend of the NYPD targeting people of color for minor infractions, PROP said. So far in 2018, 87.5 percent of misdemeanor arrests have involved people of color, compared to 86.5 percent in the first three months of 2017 and 2016.