Racial slant in pot busts?
BY JONATHAN LEMIRE DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Updated Tuesday, April 29th 2008, 11:34 PM
Blacks are five times more likely than whites to get busted for marijuana possession in the city, according to a report released Tuesday by the New York City Liberties Union.
"The NYPD routinely targets young men based on their skin color and where they live," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. "Racial profiling is a fact of life on the streets of New York."
The study - which the NYPD blasted as wrong and misleading - used data provided by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to show that 52% of the suspects arrested from 1997 to 2007 were black, 31% Hispanic and only 15% white.
The NYCLU also said that nearly 400,000 people had been arrested during the past 10 years for carrying small amounts of pot - a huge surge over the 30,000 busted for grass possession between 1987 and 1996 and the 33,000 collared between 1977 and 1986.
The NYPD has long maintained that low-level drug arrests have helped spur the city's drop in serious crimes.
Top Police Department spokesman Paul Browne disputed the report's findings and rapped what he said was the NYCLU's effort "to mislead the public with absurdly inflated numbers and false claims about bias."