NEW YORK CITY — Cops arrested people of color on low-level drug charges at a staggering rate last quarter with black and Hispanic people making up 90 percent of arrests, new data show.
More than 260 people of color landed behind bars on marijuana possession charges while less than 20 white people did between July and September, according to an NYPD report released Monday.
Of the 291 people arrested on criminal and unlawful marijuana possession charges, 167 were black, 95 Hispanic, 18 white and 11 Asian, according to NYPD data. Just 19 were women and 272 men.
Cops arrested 71 New Yorkers under the age of 21, 165 between the ages of 21 and 34, and 55 between 35 and 65 years old, according to NYPD data. The number of marijuana arrests has dropped steeply since the state Legislature passed new law decriminalizing possession of up to two ounces of cannabis this summer, according to the data.
During the third quarter in 2018, 1,117 New Yorkers — 600 black people, 414 Hispanic people, and 64 white — were arrested on the same low-level drug charges, data show.
Legal Aid Society, the city’s largest legal services nonprofit, expressed concern over the high arrest rate among people of color and called on state lawmakers to legalize marijuana. Community Justice Unit supervising attorney Anthony Posada argued the data show black and Hispanic New Yorkers remain at heightened risk for brutal punishments beyond prison that include deportation or the loss of their kids.