Written By: Ishton W. Morton – November 24th, 2019
Pursuant to a recent news bite given on WLWT TV5, November 23rd, 2019, one can conclude all along Councilman Christopher Smitherman, Chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee was extremely right.
Although I am not surprised, reportedly Cincinnati’s first round of marijuana decriminalization data definitively show or proves that most warnings were overwhelmingly given to African Americans.
Sources said, predicated on the new numbers shared by Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney detail the number of marijuana possession warnings police officers issued in October reflected the city’s new, decriminalized approach to marijuana.
Reportedly, officers issued 67 warnings last month. Accordingly, 64 of 67 were given to African Americans.
According to Aaron Pullins who operates a youth mentorship program known as “Men Involved” said, he is not surprise at all. He continued to say, “It sounds like to me that the war is still on people as opposed to on drugs.”
This has continued to outraged activists who are concerned about the city’s focus.
Seemingly, Pullins has continued to be in a state of bewilderment. Pullins are asking questions! “Why is it so many African Americans? Is it because we’re in poor neighborhoods or we’re in areas where police are cruising more?”
Although there may be merit to Pullins’ concerns it seems that those who are charged with directing the system has found means to circumvent the process, or maybe as it as is stated in that line from the 1939 film Gone with the Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” Or maybe, and just maybe that is their drug of choice.
Subsequently, City Councilman David Mann seems to be asking the same questions.
However, Mann has continued to say, “Obviously, the apparent disparity – black, white here … on the face of it is troublesome. Is that because there was a complaint? Is that because something else was going on that led to the interaction between a police officer and an individual?”
According to Investigator Todd Dykes with WLWT TV5 News who have asked a city official for more information concerning the meaning of these number. He has reported at this point, the only information available is one sheet of data that includes the number of warnings issued, the police district they were issued in and general age ranges of those who received warnings.
Additionally, the numbers has suggested approximately 89% of the warnings going to African Americans, with a majority being young people between the ages of 18 to 35 years old.
Moreover, of the Police Department’s five districts, the most warnings were handed out in District 4, which includes Avondale, Corryville, Mt. Auburn and Walnut Hills. If you did not know, all of the listed are predominately African Americans communities. Frankly something is grossly wrong with this picture.
Although Pullins is delighted the police are issuing warnings rather than making arrests for possessing less than 100 grams of marijuana. However, based on a policy council members approved this summer Pullins continues to wish for the numbers to be more racially balanced. In concurrence with Pullins we are reminded of the words of the Rev. Jessie Jackson “Keep Hope Alive!”
Nonetheless, Pullins had this to say; “The reason why it should be a warning is because these type of incidents have collateral damages that can impact somebody’s life for the rest of their life.”
Meanwhile, Dykes had this to say; “the October marijuana warnings data feels like a political hot potato. During the course of his reporting, police declined to provide specific context for why particular warnings were given out. A police spokesman said the numbers will soon be discussed with city leaders.” The bolder question is; why does it have to be a political hot potato?
Also, Investigator Todd Dykes with WLWT TV5 News said; he spoke to Councilman Christopher Smitherman, the head of the city’s Law and Public Safety Committee and a leading proponent of the city’s new marijuana decriminalization policy. Smitherman said he first wants to hear what the police chief has to say before sharing his thoughts about the data.
Reportedly, in that dialog Smitherman told Dykes, he anticipate getting those answers at his December 9th, 2019 committee’s meeting.