Onondaga County has the third largest racial disparity in marijuana arrests in the state.
An analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union finds while white men are more likely to use and sell marijuana, black men in the area are almost 8 times more likely to be arrested for possession.
Executive Director Donna Lieberman says marijuana arrests cost tax payers more than 678 million dollars, and that just covers police and court costs.
“At a time when county governments across the state are cutting services to close huge budget deficits, Police should not be squandering scarce resources arresting people for small amount of marijuana. And we shouldn’t be driving thousands of young men of color into the criminal justice system.”
(See Study Findings Here: NYCLU Marijuana Arrests)
Alfredo Carrasquillo of the Bronx is one of many who claims he faced discrimination. Two years ago he was smoking tobacco cigarettes with his friends when police confronted him.
"Four officers come out of nowhere, run up on us guns drawn and, I quote, say put your f****** hands up, don’t move or I’ll f****** blow your brains off. I was terrified at the moment because I definitely did not want to be another victim or a statistic of a young black man that was shot by police”
Carasquillo says he spent three days in an overcrowded cell and was forced to make a deal, which resulted in five days of community service. He says he was never given the opportunity to make a phone call during his stay in jail. He’s now working with the N-Y-C-L-U to help prevent what they call illegal marijuana arrests.