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1 Seattle cop wrote 80% of all pot citations, needled City Attorney, police chief says

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Kathleen O’Toole – Mayor’s Choice For SPD Chief

New Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said Wednesday she has reassigned an officer and asked for an investigation after discovering he had written about 80% of the marijuana citations issued this year, with many of them directed to the attention of City Attorney Pete Holmes, whom he referred to as “Petey Holmes.”

Holmes was a vocal supporter of the legalization of marijuana in the state.

“The ongoing review of the officer’s ticket reports also found that, in one case, while contacting two people for public use of marijuana, the officer used a coin toss to determine which of the two individuals would receive a citation,” O’Toole wrote in her initial report on the Seattle Police Department blotter.

“In another ticket report,” she wrote, “the officer refers to Washington’s voter-enacted changes to marijuana laws as ‘silly.'”

O’Toole wrote that the veteran officer, who was working with the West Precinct Bike Unit when he personally wrote 66 of the 83 marijuana tickets issued in the city this year, was being reassigned to non-patrol duties and that he is now the subject of an investigation by Office of Professional Accountability, which will review his conduct and professionalism.

The discovery of the officer’s penchant for writing pot  citations stemmed from SPD’s  first biannual report relating to marijuana enforcement.

“Please know that officers who perform professional and constitutional police service and enforcement will always have my full support,” O’Toole wrote.


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  • try2binformed

    i wish more cops would write citations for public consumption. I don’t care if people use MJ, but I f–king hate walking down the street through a big wafting cloud of the s–t.

    • Max T

      It’s the exact same way with cigarette smokers and their smoke is actually bad for you. Pot smokers generally aren’t aggressive and are actually quite passive in most situations. If you see a few people smoking a joint and you think they are going to jump you then your perception of the average marijuana smoker has probably been molded by the media and likely very wrong. Not to say there aren’t aggressive people that smoke pot, but its very uncommon with your typical stoner unless there is something else at play.

      Openly smoking weed outside, which I believe should be legal, is not a threat to any third parties in any situation. The only time you or your kids will even have a (extremely slight) chance of inhaling enough to case ANY sort of effect (good or bad) is if you’re in a confined space with a smoker. Chances of that happening to someone who doesn’t smoke is slim to none because why would you put yourself in that situation?

      I would rather the cops ignore something that is so obviously harmless and focus their efforts on more important cases such as shootings and people doing dangerous drugs in public (e.g. Meth, Heroin).

      Also, Seattle is NOT that dangerous. I live in Tacoma and I rarely go to Seattle but when I do I have no problem walking around the majority of Seattle in the middle of the night by myself. I missed the last ferry once, luckily on a somewhat warm night, and I walked around Seattle for over 5 hours waiting for the morning ferries to start running. Didn’t run into a single problem with anyone at all.

      • Truth

        @Ted Max T may or may not be “fat”, but you are definitely dumb.
        gerund or present participle: wafting
        pass or cause to pass easily or gently through or as if through the air.
        “the smell of stale fat wafted out from the cafe”
        synonyms: drift, float, glide, whirl, travel More
        convey, carry, transport, bear;
        blow, puff

  • armybadger

    This is why I refuse to bring my family to downtown Seattle. The last time I was there were people openly using drugs in the park next to the County Courthouse. Personally I don’t care if you use or not. Just not in public where my kids have to see it. I agree with this officer for issuing citations…What I don’t agree with is the flipping of coins to determine who got cited or not. Bad call on that part. Wish more Seattle PD would enforce the law. Its really too bad Seattle has turned into what it has. A place that is not safe. People getting shot everyday, and cops who have their hands tied by administrators, and not allowed to do their jobs.

  • Richard

    I havent been to Seattle probably over 2 or 3 years now, its not safe with all the drug use and violence and add to the fact parking is horrible and expensive in Seattle- I’ll take my business to other cities- and Im sure Im not the only one that wont go to Seattle for that reason,. (Im glade the Seattle Thunderbirds moved to Kent- much cleaner nicer city to go to and spend money.

  • Rob

    So…people were breaking the law… AND a cop enforced the law…and is being reprimanded… Sounds like dysfunctional Seattle to me!

  • Kohl

    it seems people do not understand the problem, the problem is if one officer is making a majority of citations towards one group of people there is something wrong with how he is doing his job. 80% of all MJ citations is way to much, if he can have two people flip a coin to see who gets the citation what else has he done? how many people got citations that should not of gotten citations? he was clearly very against MJ, and you can never know if he was even enforcing the law properly. many people dont know there rights and allow cops to talk all over them and all cops use that.

  • Jess

    What’s wrong with a coin toss ? You want the officer to discriminate? That is the most unbiased way to make a decision. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Stupid liberals.

  • Brian

    Its not because he was doing his job, but because he was being biased, based off of his PERSONAL opinion. I’m not disagreeing with the cop, as a user of marijuana, I don’t believe it should be used in public, legal or not! Maybe as far as within your own yard, but anything outside of that you should be ticketed. If its legal in your state, and you want to smoke on your own property, and inside your own home, where it wont affect anyone but the inhabitants of that dwelling, than cool, go ahead do you! But allowing MJ use out in open public just isn’t very courteous to others, nor does it make people want to come to your city, well not the kind of people you’d like to come there.

    • 03sv1g

      Biased or not, he wrote legitimate tickets to people smoking pot in public, just like he is supposed to do. All I get from this story is that the other cops aren’t doing their jobs as well as he does. If he spotted so many, the others are obviously turning a blind eye to it and should be fired.

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