Illegal searches lead to surge in NY marijuana arrests, investigation claims

David Edwards
Raw Story
April 27, 2011

New York City police have been unfairly targeting minorities with illegal searches, causing a surge in the state’s mairjuana prosecutions, a recent public investigation found.

Carried out by public radio station WNYC, the investigation concluded that many of the searches were conducted in violation of people’s constitutional rights.

The public radio station talked to current and former cops, defense lawyers and more than a dozen men arrested on marijuana charges who all say the New York City Police officers are abusing pat downs.

Under the law, a police officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that a person is committing a crime before he can stop someone. The officer can only pat down — or stop-and-frisk — the outside of a suspect’s clothing if he believes there is a weapon. Only when the officer feels what he believes to be a weapon can he reach into the person’s pocket.

Full article here

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