Lawsuit Accuses Police of Ignoring Directive on Marijuana Arrests




Nine months ago, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly issued a memorandum directing police officers not to make misdemeanor arrests for possession of small quantities of marijuana discovered when suspects are ordered to empty their pockets in stop, question and frisk encounters.
But police officers have continued to charge New Yorkers with misdemeanor crimes — rather than issuing them tickets for violations — for possession of small amounts of marijuana despite Mr. Kelly’s directive, according to a lawsuit filed on Friday by the Legal Aid Society.
“It’s certainly a sad commentary that the commissioner can issue a directive that reads well on paper but on the street corners of the city doesn’t exist,” said Legal Aid’s chief lawyer, Steven Banks.
The 28-page lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against the city and the Police Department, seeks a court order declaring the practice illegal under state law and prohibiting officers from making such arrests.
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