Seattle police officer reassigned after writing out 80 per cent of Seattle's total “pot smoking” cautions

It was also found that on one occasion the officer got two people to flip a coin to decide who would receive a citation

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The Independent Online

A Seattle policeman has been put under an internal investigation after it was found that he had written out 80 per cent of the city’s total marijuana cautions in the first half of 2014.

In a statement by Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, she said that the unidentified officer would be taken off the streets and reassigned to administrative duties until an investigation into his handing out cannabis cautions were fully looked into.

According to the police, the officer, who belonged to the Precinct Bike Unit, is said to have handed out 66 of the city’s 83 marijuana citations between 1 January and 30 June.

O’Toole said that it was not only the volume of tickets that was a concern, but written notes that were added to the bottom of tickets had also raised alarm bells.

On one ticket, a message read “found two people smoking marijuana and made them flip a coin to decide which person would be cited.”

Follwed by: "(Suspect) lost the coin flip so he got the ticket while the other person walked. (suspect) was allowed to keep his pipe," the ticket reads.

Another one referred to Washington state’s voter-enforced changes to marijuana law as “silly”.

A third ticket, requested the attention of Seattle City Attorney and pro-marijuana legalisation supporter Peter Holmes.

O’Toole wrote in a public post that the officer’s conduct came to their attention when the department released its semi-annual report on marijuana enforcement in the city.

The report aims to find out more about the enforcement of the marijuana laws in the city, since state voters in 2012 decided to change the public consumption of cannabis to a civil offence from a criminal one.

Commenting on the unnamed officer, O’Toole wrote: "I am personally very sorry that apparently a significant number of homeless individuals were inconvenienced by an officer's apparent attempt to get at me. But I'm really sorry that our citizens were unnecessarily inconvenienced."

Adding that she was releasing the details because she felt it was important to show that Seattle Police Department's law enforcement practices were transparent.

 

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