New York City, N.Y. - On Monday, NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton forwarded the typical failed "War on Drugs" hyperbole by attempting to make a connection between a minute increase in homicides in NYC. There were 45 homicides last year at this point, versus 54 currently, and legalization in Colorado, some 1600 miles away.
The standard reefer madness narrative forwarded by Bratton only serves to create a larger divide between law enforcement and the public they are supposed to serve.
This ridiculousness is the exact opposite approach of the D.C. police chief, who was intelligent enough to realize that marijuana arrests “make people hate us.”
At a news conference Monday, Bratton said:
“The seemingly innocent drug that’s been legalized around the country. In this city, people are killing each other over marijuana more so than anything that we had to deal with [in the] 80s and 90s with heroin and cocaine.”
The fact that Bratton can even utter such an alarmist and untrue statement speaks to the extremely disingenuous nature of reality as he sees it.
Either Bratton has never looked at any actual numbers from that time period or he is lying through his teeth. Either way, what little credibility the NYPD had left is now rendered null and void.
Just in case he comes across this article, we'd like to show Bratton some real data from the past century.
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Consider for a moment that Bratton is only analyzing eight week's worth of data. Even so, if we were to extrapolate that for the year, it would amount to a total of 383 murders for the year.
Contrast that to the year 1990, when the city saw 2,245 murders at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. The numbers of today pale in comparison and indeed reveal the farcical nature of Bratton’s statements.
The reality is that the violent crime rate has been steadily decreasing in New York since the 80's and 90's.
After the first full year of legalization in Colorado, homicides in Denver dropped 24 percent. In that same period burglary was down 9.5 percent, robberies down 3 percent, with overall crime down .7 percent.
Even with such astounding numbers coming out of Colorado it would be irresponsible to attribute all of this positive data solely to the legalization of marijuana. More data needs to be analyzed over time to see if these early numbers are indicative of a larger trend.
The notion that legalization in Colorado has somehow created nine additional homicides in New York is patently absurd and makes Bratton look like a complete imbecile.
Rather than forwarding narratives of propaganda, Bratton should attempt to reconcile the reality that legalization is coming, and no amount of blatant propaganda is going to stop that momentum.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.