Vast Majority Of All Seattle Pot Tickets Written By Same Officer

WASHINGTON:  Seattle Police Department chief Kathleen O’Toole has launched an internal investigation into an officer who personally wrote nearly 80 percent of tickets issued this year for smoking marijuana in public, according to an internal e-mail O’Toole sent officers. The Stranger obtained the e-mail through city sources who asked to remain anonymous.
The tickets, punishable by $55 in fines, have been handed out disproportionally to people of color and the poor, according to a recently released city report.
“I have ensured this officer will not be performing patrol duties during the course of this investigation,” O’Toole said.
Last year, City Attorney Pete Holmes pushed hard to create the ticket for smoking marijuana in public, which led to speculation that the ticket would be issued disproportionately to people of color. The city council cooperated with Holmes’s request by passing an ordinance, but first the council inserted clauses into the law that say cops should give suspects a “first warning” and requiring a semi-annual report on the ticket’s impacts.
 

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