Seattle's Pot Tickets: The Scandal Behind the Scandal

One officer wrote nearly 80 percent of the city's marijuana citations. Why was that fact hidden from Chief Kathleen O'Toole?


So give the AA community a free pass on all laws to make the libs feel better about themselves.
I wish I had a 6 figure job where I could write funny little notes on my work about the supervisors of other departments.
@1 props on embracing your stupidity.

What does Alcoholics Anonymous have to do with this? Or is that Anti-Abortionists? American Airlines? Alcoa Aluminum?
@1: It's the wealthier white community that's getting a pass on the laws. I could easily write that many public consumption tickets in one weekend in any of the city's nightlife areas.

The law needs to be reformed to allow designated public consumption areas.
While I think it's fair to point out Jokela's disproportionately targeting people of color, comparing that to the behavior of the rest of the force seems a stretch since you're talking about 18 tickets spread out over 1000+ cops.
@6: That's why this story is such a clustefuck. At first, it appeared that Seattle cops as a whole were flouting the voters and discriminating.

But actually it turns out that the police dept is showing great restraint, issuing very few tickets. Presumably they are doing a lot of looking the other way and issuing the occasional warning despite the fact that masses of people are ignoring the (unworkable) current laws about where weed can be consumed.

The actual situation could have been a very positive story for the Seattle police if not for the one officer. Instead it makes the police administration look clueless and incompetent.
@7: If we're to trust this article, it seems like the issue should have been very obvious to the point that the only explanation is either explicit complicity or extreme incompetence.
But it's okay guys they made a funny doritos bag
@4 I'm pretty sure he mean African Americans. Somehow giving people of color a pass on racial-bias-tickets means that people of color are getting a pass on all laws.

Also known as what a moron would think.
"So give the AA community a free pass on all laws to make the libs feel better about themselves."

Bingo. Since they are arrested disproportionately for murder, maybe we should ease up on that one too. And assault. And robbery.
The more I hear about SPD, the sicker this department sounds.
I'm just annoyed that the article quotes a percent figure of "32.9". That decimal makes it a per-thousand, really, and it's derived from underlying numbers that total less than a hundred. "One-third" would have done just fine.
Once Ride Free Area ended, Pike/Pine/ 3rd became bearable. Now, after the pot legislation, it is worse then before. Drugs, dealing, Banging.
This is a major transit corridor. Ticket for smoking. Every foot of 3rd between Pike and Pine is covered under the 25 ft rule and Metro no smoking policy.
It doesn't matter what you are smoking. Ticket them. Watch the lingering dry up.
Ticketing solely because of pot smoking is prejudiced in the first place. Smoking is smoking.
I agree with #6 & #7.
One overly-enthusiastic semi-jerk cop out of 1000?
Not bad at all.

Btw, thinking about how to make downtown safe:
Maybe we should be encouraging street people to smoke pot (rather than drink cheap wine). Let them be all calmed-down and cool. No hassle, man.
"The report was supposed to be conducted by Katherine Becket, a social scientist at UW who had a draft contract to do this report—until that contract was scotched in January by interim police chief Harry Bailey and the new mayoral administration."

And Bailey's terribleness lives on after his tenure, as the ghost of idiocy past...
So the cop works a black neighborhood and enforces the law? This is a problem? We should look the other way in Black neighborhoods?
Why is it that certain "communities", and their apologists, always find ways to blame others for their shitty behavior and poor choices?
@17 no, we should enforce equally in all neighborhoods. White neighborhoods are where they're looking the other way.
@17, @19 Just as a point of fact, we passed laws that actually did say that they should look for more important crimes first, so I guess that covers some looking the other way, and that they should issue warning first, such that properly enforcing the law would actually result in very few citations.
@19 - these tickets were written downtown, which neighborhood is that? and which "white" neighborhood are they looking the other way in? I live in QA and I just do not see anyone hanging out and smoking pot on the streets. It's not considered looking the other way of you can't find anyone to bust because they are just not there.
Put Officer Jokela back on the beat! sez the man on the street and even those (gasp! blacks!) who have been issued the tickets.

They want Joker back. Because he has a heart.

To all the faux representatives like Dominic et al who have been poring over the paperwork, have "analyzed" the data, and are falsely condemning Jokela: Who exactly are you representing?

You may think you are representing minorities, the man on the street... but in truth you are simply representing disembodied data.
That's the true scandal behind the scandal behind the scandal.
ok let me get this straight. There are ALOT of black people on the blade, openly smoking pot and the police are suppose to ignore it because they're black? get a grip. if they are breaking the law then they should have to get a ticket for it. dumb assholes are making it hard on the rest of us pot smokers. clean up the blade !
It's against the law to get high on Mad Dog or a 40-ouncer on a public street in Seattle, so why should it be legal to get high on pot on the street. Wonder what the ethnic breakdown is of arrests for public consumption of alcohol? Or if cops even enforce it anymore?

Turns out he's well liked by the homeless and the area is disproportionately represented by blacks.

The simple fact is most white people do not smoke pot openly in public whereas black people do... not racist @all, just an acaccurate observation.
@27 One of the great privileges of being white, is thinking that the only real racism involves bad people scheming to hurt some other race.

I believe that you are not looking to disadvantage anyone based on race.

However, it would be good for everyone if you took notice of the institutional racism, which was deep and pervasive only a couple generations ago, and still exists in lesser forms today.

Further, peer-reviewed studies have shown that Americans tend to have subconscious racial biases which would tend to make them more likely to associate black people with crimes and annoyances; it is probable that your perception is at least somewhat colored by this.
This article is BS. I am a "person of color"(stupid ass term). The officer worked 3rd Avenue. 3RD AVENUE. Think the ticketing was pretty conservative considering that area. You could prob issue a ticket every 10 feet down there. At night that area transforms into drug central and is scary as hell. Drugs sold on the street by the same people and their associates. Of course they're going to try to smoke weed in public because it's another envelope to push. They need to stay focused in that area. The street is home to a lot of those people so where else would they go anyway? And it just so happens the majority of them are black. If the majority of them down there were white doing the same thing they too would be ticketed. But they are not white. Law says no you can't so if you do it and get a ticket for it where's the surprise? You could focus %90 of your attention on affluent neighborhoods and %10 on 3rd Ave and you would STILL see a lower percentage of citations issued for public weed smoke in the affluent neighborhood. You could even go to White Center, Georgetown, Burien, South Park and also get the same result. And they won't get ticketed because they won't be outside smoking. Somehow most have deduced they could still get high and not get ticketed if they smoke inside their house or apartment. I can totally see this officers side and laugh because if it were me it would be hard to resist making jokes about the absurdity of it all.