The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

NYPD Allegedly Sodomizes Marijuana Smoker

Posted by invizweb on January 28, 2010

Tony Newman wrote this for Alternet:

New York City police have arrested over 300,000 people for low-level marijuana possession since 1997, sometimes employing outrageous methods to humiliate citizens.

Yesterday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, Michael Mineo took the stand to describe in detail his harrowing experience on a Brooklyn subway station in 2008: being held down by three New York City police officers and sodomized with a foreign object.

Mr. Mineo’s crime? Smoking marijuana.

The Brooklyn cops chased Mr. Mineo into the station after they spotted him smoking marijuana. Mr. Mineo claims that the cops tackled him and that one of the officers sodomized him with a baton. The cops then gave him a summons, and threatened that they would go to his house and serve him with a felony charge if he went to the hospital for treatment or the police station to report what happened.

Mr. Mineo’s story is corroborated by eyewitnesses—including a transit police officer. The three officers charged in the attack are now on trial in a case that recalls that of Abner Louima, who was brutally sodomized by police in 1997.

The NYPD’s obsession with marijuana possession has led to tens of thousands of New Yorkers a year getting caught up in the criminal justice system. Most spend a few days in jail. Some, like Mr. Mineo, suffer more horrific experiences. While New York has a reputation as a tolerant and open-minded city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Gotham makes so many pot busts that the city now has the unfortunate distinction of being the marijuana arrest capital of the world.

According to a report released by the New York Civil Liberties Union in 2008, New York City police have arrested more than 300,000 people for low-level, misdemeanor marijuana possession since 1997. In 2008 alone, the number of arrests for possessing a small amount of marijuana in New York City soared to 40,300 people, most of them teenagers and young adults under 26 years old.

New York City’s marijuana arrests also show stark racial disparities. In 2008, 87% of those charged with pot possession were black or Latino. These groups represent only about half of the city’s population, and U.S. government surveys consistently find that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks and Latinos. Yet blacks and Latinos are arrested for pot at much higher rates, in part because officers make stop-and-frisk searches disproportionately in black, Latino, and low-income neighborhoods. Mr. Mineo was assaulted in Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn—a predominantly Black and Caribbean neighborhood.

The rest of the article is here.

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