Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

July 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Seattle city attorney issues statement on SPD pot-ticket case

In the wake of news stories about a Seattle police officer under investigation for writing 80 percent of the tickets this year for using marijuana in public, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes today issued a statement outlining his position on enforcement of the ban.

In some cases, the officer added a notation to the tickets requesting the attention of “Petey Holmes,” a strong advocate of pot legalization.

Here is Holmes’ statement:

In the wake of reports that a single Seattle police officer issued the bulk of tickets for smoking marijuana in public, I want to make sure that the public understands how this civil infraction came to be and why it must be applied fairly. I leave it to SPD’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Chief Kathleen O’Toole to sort out the facts about the officer’s conduct.

When I-502 passed voters were promised that public marijuana use would remain illegal, but as a civil infraction rather than a crime.

As an I-502 sponsor I also consider this my promise, which is why I supported writing the civil infraction into Seattle law.

This isn’t about fining people; it’s about getting people to stop smoking marijuana in public, especially in crowded areas and places where families and children congregate.

At the same time City Council wisely recognized that even civil infractions can be issued in a racially disproportionate manner, much like the War on Drugs itself.

That is why we have a reporting requirement to receive early indicators of any disproportionate enforcement.

And I’m absolutely concerned about the numbers in the report showing disproportionality.

I’m also concerned about inconsistent citywide enforcement with both warnings and tickets across the five precincts, which may also be an underlying factor in the first report.

I support enforcing the law, I support warning people before ticketing them and only issuing a ticket if the warning doesn’t work, and I support spreading enforcement efforts equitably across the City.

Comments | More in General news, Government, The Blotter | Topics: City Attorney Pete Holmes, marijuana legalization, Seattle Police Department

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►