Police officers are in a very powerful position. They are supposed to carry out their work duties without bias. However, all to often police officers infuse their own personal political beliefs into their job. This is especially true when it comes to marijuana. An officer that doesn’t like marijuana can wreak havoc on a community by busting everyone they desire, even in states like Washington where possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is now legal. Marijuana consumption in public is still illegal in Seattle, which is something that one officer is using to their advantage. Per SPD Blotter:
When reviewing data captured for this report, SPD staff discovered that 66 of 83, or approximately 80%, of marijuana tickets were issued by one officer. In some instances, the officer added notes to the tickets. Some notes requested the attention of City Attorney Peter Holmes and were addressed to “Petey Holmes.” In another instance, the officer indicated he flipped a coin when contemplating which subject to cite. In another note, the officer refers to Washington’s voter-enacted changes to marijuana laws as “silly.”
The officer’s actions have been reported to OPA and he will not perform patrol duties during the course of the investigation.
I get the fact that consuming marijuana in public is still illegal in Seattle. But it’s something that should carry a warning, not a fine, and enforcement should be consistent. One officer should not be able to take it upon themselves to pick and choose who they want to bust. This officer’s actions are descriminatory, considering that an earlier report showed that 32% of people cited were African American, even though African Americans only make up 8% of Seattle’s population. Taking this officer off of patrol duties is not enough – they need to fire this officer to make things right and send a message to other rogue officers that these actions are not OK.