One Seattle cop wrote 80 percent of marijuana citations during the first six months of 2014, the police department acknowledged in late July.
The officer, who told others he considered legalization “silly,” issued 66 of 83 tickets for public consumption in Seattle, Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said. The officer wasn’t identified, but O’Toole said he was reassigned to desk duty.
The problem was uncovered when O’Toole’s staff was preparing the first report on how Seattle has enforced the law that legalized weed in Washington.
“In some instances, the officer added notes to the tickets,” the chief said in a press release.
On some, he asked City Attorney Peter Holmes to look at the citations personally, referring to him as “Petey Holmes.” On one ticket, he wrote that the legalization law passed by voters in 2012 is “silly.”
During one incident, “the officer indicated he flipped a coin when contemplating which subject to cite,” O’Toole said.
The officer’s conduct was reported to the police department’s Office of Professional Accountability, and he was taken off parole duties pending an investigation, O’Toole said July 30.
Washington was one of the first two states to legalize marijuana two years ago, along with Colorado. Washington’s first legal pot shops opened early in July.
The report, issued every six months, is intended to improve oversight of the legal weed program and to show any “anomalies or outliers,” such as the reassigned officer’s tickets.
The report also showed that black residents of Seattle are ticketed for public consumption at significantly higher rates than whites, even though both races use the drug at equal rates. Thirty-six percent of tickets were issued to African-Americans even though they make up just 8 percent of the city’s population.
A spokesman for the department said police are aware of the disparity.