Tag Archives: NYPD commissioner

City’s pot policy change divides Queens residents, pleases pols


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via NYC Mayor Office's  Flickr

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Borough residents are on both sides of the debate over the city’s recent change in policy over marijuana possession arrests, while several local politicians see it as a progressive move.

“Historically, these types of arrests have disproportionately targeted poorer, young men of color,” Councilman Donovan Richards Jr., said. “Rethinking the administration’s approach to marijuana possession is a key to ending the misguided reliance on ‘stop and frisk’ and rebuilding the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they police.”

According to the new policy, if police find someone in possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, officers will issue a summons instead of arresting the individual. The new policy, which comes into effect on Nov. 19, is not a blanket rule. The change is valid only if the person has identification and if no arrest warrant has been issued for him or her. Individuals carrying marijuana will still be subject to arrest if the type of possession indicates intent to sell, if the individual has an outstanding warrant, or if the individual is in certain locations such as a school.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras is also in favor of the change, calling it a move in the right direction.

“This policy change is one of many steps towards rebuilding those communities of color, like my own, that have been disproportionately jailed and suffered in the long term; it reflects the progressive, forward-thinking direction in which our city and this Council are moving,” she said.

Councilman Rory Lancman, who chairs the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, focused on the effect of the policy change on the overburdened legal system, saying that this change will allow prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys to concentrate on violent crimes. He added that he looks forward to “further reducing the over-policing in communities of color, and addressing the collateral consequences of even mere violations for undocumented immigrants caught in the criminal justice system.”

Queens residents were not as supportive, and even saw the change as potentially dangerous.

“It is not a good idea. There should be more rules covering this. What if someone is on a high and drives a car? This will add more dangerous people on the road,” Bayside resident Robert Posner said.

But others agreed with the looser punishment.

“It’s not right but I am OK with it,” Alda Gomez said. “So long as they don’t sell it or it is not a big amount or they are next to a school, if it is only for themselves, it’s okay.”

Jose Valencia believed it was a good start.

“Eventually law has to change towards legalization,” he said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

De Blasio names Bill Bratton next NYPD commissioner


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr/Policy Exchange

In a much anticipated move, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named Bill Bratton as the city’s top cop  on Thursday, promising to “heal the wounds” caused by stop-and-frisk.

“He has combined the best of tradition and the best of innovation in an extraordinary career of achievement,” de Blasio said.

This is Bratton’s second run as commissioner, following his first stint from 1994 to 1996 under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He will replace Raymond Kelly, who has had the top cop spot since 2002.

De Blasio’s campaign platform sat staunchly against the controversial police tactic and made it clear he would not keep Kelly.

“We’ve seen an approach that has too often alienated communities,” de Blasio said. “This has caused a lack of partnership between police and community.”

Now, he said we need to “heal some of the wounds and reopen communication between police and community.”

Bratton, 66, said one of his goals is to bring these groups together “in a collaboration where there is mutual respect and there is mutual trust.”

“We need to ensure that police are not the flashpoint for disruption, disturbances and anger,” he said. “It [policing] must be done compassionately. It must be done consistently.”

Bratton was long-rumored to be de Blasio’s pick along with NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks and First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro.

The police veteran with nearly five decades experience is coming from a run as the Los Angeles Police Department’s chief from 2002 to 2009. He also served as the Boston Police Commissioner before first coming to New York.

During his time with the NYPD, Bratton created tactics that are credited with cutting the steep crime rate in half, including COMPSTAT and real-time crime analysis.

“Bill Bratton is the leading national voice of community policing, of a progressive and proactive approach to policing, focusing on the collaboration between police and community,” de Blasio said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES