Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 11.16.53 AMAnyone arrested in Brooklyn on a low-level marijuana charge – one where a small amount is spotted in public view – may just find his case “immediately dismissed” and fingerprints destroyed as long as there are no prior convictions, according to a confidential memo obtained by the New York Times.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office sent a proposal to the New York Police Department stating it will stop prosecuting these types of cases, which is the top arraignment in New York City.

“We are pouring money and effort into an endeavor that produces no public safety benefit for the community,” the memo reads.

Some 8,500 individuals were processed in Brooklyn on low-level drug charges last year. And according to a 2013 ACLU report, black people are nine times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Manhattan and Brooklyn. But according to the memo:

One goal of the proposed marijuana policy, which is still in draft form, is to ensure that “individuals, and especially young people of color, do not become unfairly burdened and stigmatized by involvement in the criminal justice system for engaging in nonviolent conduct that poses no threat of harm to persons or property.”

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the Times that he opposed the policy and would continue to make arrests. (Of course there’s always one.) But he added the department would do so with “a lot more discretion.”


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  • Anthony

    This is a good first step, but so many black people, especially black youth, have priors due to some trumped up BS, that many would still face persecution because their records are not clean. I know being DA is a political position, but hopefully, with the help of the current mayor, this DA will find the courage to prosecute no one for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana, that would really force the NYPD to rethink their approach to black people on the street.

  • Anthony

    Since Chief Bratton will continue the arrests, he is using the law for two things, he is signing on the use of the law for simple harassment. A secondary effect will be that even with charges thrown out, the next time a young person is stopped, he or she will not have a clean record, and there will be a pretext for further harassment.