By "Radical" Russ Belville
I’ve been reporting on cases of people being busted for filming police without their permission. Yes, they can film you but in most states you can’t film them. Just like they can lie to you but you can’t lie to them. Now comes the story of four young men in Queens who were busted and held for 30 hours in jail because they laughed at the cops and they were standing near somebody else’s weed. Apparently now cops can laugh at you but you can’t laugh at them.
(NY Daily News) The incident started about 4p.m. on Aug. 19, when cops approached a group blocking an entrance to Rufus King Park in Jamaica and saw someone throw a bag in a garbage can, a police source said.
They began searching members of the group, including the plaintiffs. An unidentified man told officers he had smoked all the marijuana and took off running with a cop in pursuit, according to the suit.
When the cop returned, huffing and puffing from the chase, some spectators at a handball game in the park laughed.
“‘If you think that’s funny, watch what I do to them,’” one cop said, the suit alleges. That’s when cops moved in on Harvis’ clients.
The four were initially charged with possession of marijuana found in the bag in the garbage can.
Do I need to inform the readers that the four young men are African-American? Nah, you guessed that already, right? Marijuana busts have long been the favorite tool of NYPD for harassing young black men.
There are more white folks in NYC and they use marijuana more often than Hispanics and Blacks. You wouldn't know that by these arrest statistics.
Queens College professor Harry Levine has been studying this phenomenon for years. This chart shows you marijuana arrests by year for blacks, Latinos, and whites. White people use marijuana at greater rates than minorities and there are more white people than minorities overall, yet you’ll see how few white people are arrested for possession compared to minorities.