Federal Suit Claims Police Manufacture Misdemeanors

  • May 2, 2013

Today, ECBAWM and The Bronx Defenders filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court on behalf of five Bronx residents, charging the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) with targeting Black and Latino communities for marijuana arrests and “manufacturing” misdemeanor crimes against residents in order to meet departmental quotas. All five plaintiffs were falsely accused by NYPD officers of possessing marijuana in “public view,” arrested, held in custody, and charged with misdemeanors. In fact, however, each man possessed only a small amount of marijuana for personal use in his pocket — discovered after an illegal stop and search — for which each should have received a simple ticket under New York law. By lying about the facts, and claiming the marijuana was in “public view,” the NYPD officers turned what would have been for most New Yorkers a minor incident into a full-blown ordeal.

The plaintiffs are represented by Katherine Rosenfeld and Sam Shapiro.

“Federal Suit Claims Police Distort Marijuana Searches to Create Misdemeanors,” New York Times