Of 85 tickets, more than 90 percent were issued to men. Most were issued in downtown parks. Seventy percent are in default.
The second study of marijuana-use tickets issued by Seattle police looks much like the first: Blacks are disproportionately cited for marijuana use, men received about 90 percent of the tickets and downtown parks are again popular places for officers to hand out tickets.
Results of the police department’s study, which is required by city ordinance, will be discussed at 9:30 a.m. Monday during a City Council briefing.
Police issued 85 tickets, which carry a $27 penalty, from July 1, 2014, through the end of last year. Although blacks make up about 8 percent of Seattle’s population, according to Census Bureau figures, they received about 27 percent of tickets issued. Forty-four tickets — more than half — were issued in city parks, all downtown.
More than 90 percent of the citations were written by Seattle police’s West Precinct. About 9 percent of tickets were paid; 70 percent are in default, according to the study.
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All of the tickets included in the police department’s first report were thrown out last year as part of a “reset effort” because a single cop, Officer Randy Jokela, wrote the majority of them.
Jokela issued about 80 percent of the tickets in the first report. Some citations referred to City Attorney Pete Holmes, who campaigned for marijuana legalization in 2012, as “Petey Holmes.” On one ticket, Jokela wrote that he flipped a coin to decide which of two people to cite for pot use.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said last year the tickets were written for the “wrong reasons.”
Jokela was temporarily reassigned but returned to his bike patrol work in Belltown and Queen Anne last August.
Tickets Jokela wrote last July were also thrown out. It’s not clear if those tickets are counted in the second SPD study.
Although reports are due to the City Council every six months, it has been almost exactly a year since the police department’s first report.
Why the delay?
In April, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the police department was slow to produce the report because the citations are paper.
“It required a lot of hand research,” Whitcomb said.
The report was first delivered to the City Council in a memo dated May 18. The council and police department have had difficulty scheduling a briefing on the study.