So, the issue of “drug dealers” at Washington Square is something that gets some people very upset and others just shrug. There was one theory that once the park was redesigned the NYPD would be able to better monitor all activities (not certain that’s really ever been the issue — and there are certainly enough cameras now) and it would end. Well, apparently, one “regular” has been arrested 81 times —
The NY Post first reported early March 30th:
A drug dealer logged his 81st arrest last weekend when cops busted him for marijuana in Greenwich Village, authorities said.
… [Mr.] Wayne was cuffed at 1:25 a.m. Saturday after officers spotted him with weed in Washington Square Park, cops said.
Wayne had so many prior busts there that he had actually been banned from the park, cops added.
Drug dealing in Washington Square Park is considered a small-time and nonviolent offense, [Sixth Precinct Deputy Inspector] del Pozo said. Because sentencing is small, too, dealers tend to be repeat offenders. …
Sixth Precinct police are arresting people in the park daily for selling drugs, del Pozo said. They also often find sellers trying to scam would-be pot smokers with black tea and oregano.
It’s interesting that the NYPD Sixth Precinct considers drug dealing “a small-time and nonviolent offense” and yet the Bloomberg Administration has been criticized for making NYC the “Marijuana Arrest Capital of the World” – for people caught with the substance on them.
Allegedly, in this instance, the goods were “sticking out of his pants’ back pocket.” Although is that true? The Bloomberg Admin has also been criticized for this —
… the number of low-level pot arrests during the Bloomberg administration is greater than in the 12 years of Mayor Koch, plus the four years of Mayor Dinkins, plus the first two years of Mayor Giuliani combined.
140 people are arrested every day for marijuana possession in NYC, according to stats released by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services—despite the fact that possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana was decriminalized 30 years ago, provided it’s not burning or in public view. Critics say cops conducting stop and frisks trick “suspects” into bringing their marijuana into public view, thus justifying an arrest.
In addition, this arrest story raises other questions — Were the police just circling the park at 1:25 a.m. (park’s closing time is technically midnight) and happened upon Mr. Wayne? Was he seen from afar via the cameras in the park? Who is in the park then?
Previously at WSP Blog:
* The NYPD Will Be Watching YOU at Washington Square Park April 5, 2010