Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said the arrests are the direct result of the NYPD's racially biased stop-and-frisk tactics. (Ninety percent of all those stopped and frisked are black or Latino.) The Local explains:
A police officer can demand that the detained individual empty his pockets. If the person is in possession of even a small quantity of marijuana, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor, rather than a violation, because the drug would now be “in plain view.”
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered his officers to stop making “plain view” arrests during stop-and-frisks, but Mr. Jeffries said that the practice continues.
Jeffries wrote a bill last year that would make plain-view marijuana a violation, not a misdemeanor. The legislation is pending.
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart