This is why I have a problem with the Arizona immigration law
Officers were instructed to arrest people for “blocking the sidewalk,” for not possessing ID (even while just feet from their homes), even for no reason at all (cops were told to “articulate” a charge at a later time). The cops were told to make arrests even if they knew they’d be voiding the charge at the end of their shifts. As a sergeant implores in one recording, “Again, it’s all about the numbers.”
About those numbers: While only about one tenth of 1 percent of the stops yielded a gun (at present it’s nearly impossible to legally carry a gun in New York), the practice has helped drive up the city’s marijuana arrests from 4,000 in 1997 to 40,000 in 2007. Marijuana for personal use was actually decriminalized in New York during that period. But you still can’t display your pot in public. So the police simply stop people, trick them into emptying their pockets, and then arrest them for displaying marijuana in public.
Blacks and Latinos made up an incredible 90 percent of the stop-and-frisks in 2009, yet the arrest rate among those stopped was about the same as that of whites. (It isn’t clear how many arrests led to actual convictions.) And while the city’s crime rate has dropped dramatically since the early 1990s, the stop-and-frisk phenomenon is relatively recent and growing fast. The rate has tripled since 2003.
The courts have held stop and frisk to be a lawful stop so under the Arizona law this is a possible outcome. I’ll let you guys hash it out in your own mind, but I have a lot of problems with policies like this.