"D.C. Police Chief Says Decrim Makes Cops’ Jobs Easier"

January 20, 2015

By  on January 20, 2015

[Originally published here: http://www.marijuana.com/news/2015/01/d-c-police-chief-says-decrim-makes-cops-jobs-easier/]

In her new remarks on Tuesday, Lanier tried to play down decriminalization’s impact even as she portrayed it as a positive change. “Marijuana possession has never been a big arrest category,” she said. “The average officer for the past 20 years has avoided the possession of marijuana arrest because they’ve not been prosecuted for many, many years. I mean, they’re kind of de facto not prosecuted, so it was a waste of time for the officer to make a possession of marijuana arrest, even back when I was an officer.”

But the numbers tell a different story.

The ACLU report, using MPD’s own data, found that there were 5,393 marijuana arrests in 2010, an average of 15 pot busts a day. That means D.C. had a higher marijuana arrest rate that year — 846 arrests per 100,000 people — than any state in the nation. The report also estimated that D.C. spent between $9 million and $43 million on marijuana possession enforcement in 2010, more per capita than any state

The ACLU-NCA applauds tremendous development in civil asset forfeiture reform

January 16, 2015

As announced in the Washington PostAttorney General Holder barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without evidence that a crime occurred.  The Attorney General’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs. The ACLU-NCA applauds this tremendous development.

DC employers are now prohibited from asking about criminal backgrounds during the application and interview process

December 19, 2014

The Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act, now in effect, prohibits employers from asking about criminal backgrounds during the application and interview process.

ACLU Urges D.C. Council to Oppose Corizon Contract

December 16, 2014

The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-NCA) strongly urges the D.C. Council to oppose the Corizon Correctional Healthcare contract (“Corizon”). The D.C. Office of Contracting Procurement awarded Corizon the new 5-year contract for health care at the D.C. Department of Corrections. The ACLU-NCA has serious reservations about this contract award because of Corizon's long history of providing substandard care to prisoners across the country.

ACLU CONTENDS INITIATIVE 71 IS NOT BLOCKED BY RIDER

December 12, 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (“ACLU-NCA”) announced today that the Congressional appropriations rider does not block enactment of Initiative 71 because it was already enacted according to District law. ACLU-NCA contends that personal possession of marijuana and home cultivation as outlined by Initiative 71 will no longer be criminal at the conclusion of the 60-day Congressional review period.

Join the ACLU at the National March Against Police Violence!

December 11, 2014

The ACLU will march against police abuse and racial profiling in DC on December 13, 2014. Join us!

We have less than 6 days to stop the DC Council from approving a contract to Corizon - one of the worst prison profiteers!

December 10, 2014

DC Office of Contracting Procurement has awarded Corizon the new 5-year contract for health care at our local jails. Corizon is a for-profit company that exclusively operates within correctional facilities. For-profit correctional healthcare is generally worrisome because concerns about profit margins incentivize cheaper, lower quality provision of care.

ACLU Urges Chief Lanier to Respect D.C. Ferguson Protesters’ First Amendment Rights

November 24, 2014

The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital understands the profound anger and frustration over the decision of the St. Louis County grand jury not to issue an indictment against Officer Wilson in the tragic killing of Michael Brown. In the wake of the grand jury announcement, policing of local protest activities should not be unnecessarily and aggressively executed and should respect the rights of protesters to peacefully assemble and organize.

Marion Barry, 1936-2014

November 23, 2014

The ACLU of the Nation's Capital joins thousands of DC residents in mourning the passing of Marion Barry -- the first National Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights activist dedicated to racial justice, and a DC Councilmember and former DC Mayor. We extend our deepest condolences to his family during this time.

ACLU-NCA to Council: Don't Wait to Implement Civil Asset Forfeiture Law

November 17, 2014

The ACLU of the Nation's Capital on Monday wrote to the Council to express one final concern about a bill that would significantly improve the District's civil asset forfeiture law: the date of implementation for one provision. Civil asset forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement agents seize millions of dollars from civilians, simply by asserting that they believe the money is connected to some illegal activity and without ever pursuing criminal charges. The ACLU-NCA strongly supports the implementation of these important and long overdue reforms. However, as currently drafted, the provision that would redirect funds seized pursuant to a federal law from going directly to the MPD and instead into the city's General Fund would not go into effect until 2018. "We think a four-year delay in implementing this important reform is unconscionable," wrote Arthur Spitzer, Legal Director for the ACLU of the Nation's Capital.

The Washington Post has dramatically illustrated the consequences of civil asset forfeiture in its ongoing "Stop and seize" investigative series. In the latest installment, the Post reported that the Metropolitan Police Department has budgeted for about $2.7 million in income from forfeitures through 2018, "even though federal guidelines say 'agencies may not commit' to such spending in advance."

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