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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BREAKING: Vast Majority of All Seattle Pot Tickets Written by Same Officer

Posted by on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Seattle Police Department chief Kathleen O'Toole has launched an internal investigation into an officer who personally wrote nearly 80 percent of tickets issued this year for smoking marijuana in public, according to an internal e-mail O'Toole sent officers. The Stranger obtained the e-mail through city sources who asked to remain anonymous.

The tickets, punishable by $55 in fines, have been handed out disproportionally to people of color and the poor, according to a recently released city report.

"I have ensured this officer will not be performing patrol duties during the course of this investigation," O'Toole said.

Last year, City Attorney Pete Holmes pushed hard to create the ticket for smoking marijuana in public, which led to speculation that the ticket would be issued disproportionately to people of color. The city council cooperated with Holmes’s request by passing an ordinance, but first the council inserted clauses into the law that say cops should give suspects a “first warning” and requiring a semi-annual report on the ticket’s impacts.

O'Toole says the officer added a note to the tickets, requesting the attention of "Petey Holmes." She didn't explain the officer's motivation, but perhaps it was an attempt to deride Holmes for being what O'Toole described as "a vocal advocate for recent changes to Washington State’s marijuana laws" in 2012. "The ongoing review of the officer’s ticket reports," O'Toole wrote in her e-mail, "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. In another ticket report, the officer refers to Washington’s voter-enacted changes to marijuana laws as 'silly.'"

The first report on the ticket's impacts was released July 23. Although black people make up 7.9 percent of the city’s population, researchers found police issued 32.9 percent of their pot tickets to black people. The study by SPD’s Loren T. Atherley and Mark Baird adds, “Early observations suggest a correlation between this low level civil infraction and people of disadvantaged socioeconomic means.” Specifically, 46 percent of the people who received tickets had addresses in government housing or associated with economic distress such as a shelter.

Why the disparate impact on minorities and the poor? The report doesn’t reach a conclusion, but at least one answer appears obvious. The only locations police have handed out the tickets issued this year, the report explains, are around 3rd Avenue downtown, Victor Steinbrueck Park, and Occidental Park (locations typically populated by racial minorities waiting for the bus and a park where vagrants congregate). But police handed out zero tickets outside the downtown core (in a city that is 69.5 percent white).

"There is no reason to think that public consumption of marijuana is dominated by black or homeless people," Lisa Dauggaard, deputy director of the Public Defender Association, said earlier this week about the report. "Common sense and all available data say that in Seattle, the opposite is true." She says that if writing tickets for marijuana smoking in public is prioritized, "it needs to be true throughout the city, including in locations where those getting citations are likely to be affluent and/or white."

The officer who wrote 80 percent of the tickers is under investigation by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which is reviewing the officer’s conduct and professionalism. The officer is a member of the West Precinct Bike Unit, personally writing 66 of the 83 marijuana tickets issued this year, according to O'Toole.

For the police department’s part, Sergeant Sean Whitcomb had said earlier this week—before today's news came out—that the tickets were handed out "in direct response to community complaints about open use." But the report finds only one ticket was handed out after a citizen complained and an officer was dispatched to the scene. In addition, Whitcomb says officers have not necessarily given suspects first warnings, instead relying on "department messaging" such as the SPD’s blog posts. (Homeless people are probably not reading blogs and may not know using pot outside is illegal.) How many of these cases actually involved the officer providing a verbal warning first, as outlined in the law?

Perhaps the investigation will find out.

(This post was updated at 5:24 p.m. with details from O'Toole's letter.)

 

Comments (87) RSS

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Gordon Werner 1
um ...

How about they don't smoke in public ... then you won't get a ticket.

Posted by Gordon Werner on July 30, 2014 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Eastpike 2
I have absolutely no doubt that marijuana crime punishment has been unfairly doled out upon minorities. That said: there's no reason to automatically believe that the small sample size of SPD's public-smoking citations is a demonstration of this problem. In other words, if black kids smoke marijuana in front of cops at the same rate that they are being arrested for it, then they are not being disproportionately targeted. Mudede acknowledged in his piece this week that he sees black youth smoking weed in parks more than whites.

It is fairly comforting that this is coming from one cop. One huge asshole of a cop.
Posted by Eastpike on July 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM · Report this
3 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
4
How about the SPD focus on keeping the peace...
Posted by Aner on July 30, 2014 at 5:11 PM · Report this
fletc3her 5
My best friend is a black person, or would be if I had any friends... But before we get out the pitchforks.

32.9% of 83 tickets is 27.3 tickets so even if the officer wrote all of the tickets which black people received they would still have written 39 or so tickets to people of other races. FWIW, I find the math here a bit suspect. It should divide more evenly. Can one ticket address multiple people?

I'm not sure the small number of tickets total and the large number written by one individual necessarily justify outrage. The simple idea that the officer's beat involves a different racial mix than the city at large, and that the officer clearly is taking enforcement more seriously than anyone else, means the numbers might make sense in a non-racist sort of way.
Posted by fletc3her on July 30, 2014 at 5:12 PM · Report this
6
Seems like a pretty easy fix.
1. Put up signs etc to tell kids etc that pot is only legal at home etc.
2. Tell cops to hand out warning tickets only if obvious repeat offender and/or for next six months or so.
Posted by caution&daring on July 30, 2014 at 5:13 PM · Report this
7
@Aner

The places these tickets are being written are generally places with fairly high police presence to keep the peace. If you're going to smoke pot in a place where you know there will be cops, you kind of deserve your ticket.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on July 30, 2014 at 5:16 PM · Report this
9
Smoking weed in public is offensive, it smells like skunk ass. Entering the bus immediately after smoking weed at the stop is even more cruel since it stinks the whole bus up. And, this seems to happen way more on the 8 than it does the 43.
Posted by shotsix on July 30, 2014 at 5:21 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 11
People should be able to enjoy a beer or a joint in public if they're not otherwise being a nuisance. As much as I hate people that wear patchouli I accept that they have a right to public spaces and so should someone that smells of pot or alcohol.
Posted by Sam Levine http://levinetech.net on July 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 12
"Oh no, someone smells! Let's sick men with guns on them!"

Seriously, this is where we're at. Let people live their lives.

Posted by Sam Levine http://levinetech.net on July 30, 2014 at 5:27 PM · Report this
DOUG. 13
When can we find out the cop's name? The asshole needs to go.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on July 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM · Report this
14
I actually don't feel so bad about this report. Folks displaying rather anti-social illegal behavior are getting punished for their transgressions and some lawless parts of downtown are actually getting policed.
Posted by restlessnative on July 30, 2014 at 5:31 PM · Report this
15
@12 yep, no doubt people should live their lives as they see fit…in their own homes. Smoking at the bus stop is illegal, no matter the substance. You think smoking weed is different than regular cigarettes?
Posted by shotsix on July 30, 2014 at 5:31 PM · Report this
fletc3her 16
That's what I get for giving somebody the benefit of the doubt.
Posted by fletc3her on July 30, 2014 at 5:34 PM · Report this
17
Who's the cop doing this?
Posted by BookEmDano on July 30, 2014 at 5:37 PM · Report this
18
I think what this shows is that we need programs to help white people hang out and enjoy those parks more. There must be something wrong with the current populations of those parks and how they're excluding white people from the mix. We can start by having special field trips for the non-minorities to be brought out to the parks, maybe with some sort of draw like a concert with a special "embrace your non-minorityness" message. We just need to find some band that appeals to the target audience... maybe Dave Matthews Band.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 30, 2014 at 5:39 PM · Report this
19
I'll just through this out there; perhaps the city doesn't want a lot if pot smoke in the two biggest tourist destinations, especially Steinbruck park. I mean, really, you walk through the market with the kids, ice cream cones in hand, and at the end you have pit smile wafting from the park. There needs to be particular places in the city where pot Somme is out of the question. Would it be asking too much to not have it near the carousel in Wrstlake park during Christmas?
Posted by jeffy on July 30, 2014 at 5:39 PM · Report this
COMTE 20
Of course, plenty of white people are getting stoned outside in public parks & pedestrian areas, it's just that they're mostly using $200 vape pens & getting stoned on comparatively odorless hash oil, rather than stinky bud, so naturally the cops aren't targeting THEM.
Posted by COMTE on July 30, 2014 at 5:42 PM · Report this
21
Remember when opponents of legalization thought there would be DUIs and tickets happening left and right, constantly? Yeah, not really....
Posted by Eckstein on July 30, 2014 at 5:46 PM · Report this
22
@20
Kids with $200 Nikes can't afford pipe & hash oil?

And considering the Seattle population, the number of arrests are extremely low and from ONE cop so in terms of systemic racism, doesn't seem arguable.
To claim that "cops are targeting" ANYONE seems a bit excessive.
Posted by caution&daring on July 30, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
23
I'm white. I smoke weed walking down the street all the time. In broad daylight, at night, whatever and whenever the fuck. I don't even think twice about it anymore.
Posted by garbagehumper on July 30, 2014 at 5:50 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 24
@15

"You think smoking weed is different than regular cigarettes?"

In a practical sense one gets you high, the other just gives you a small boost while being far more addictive. But in a legal sense someone should be able to smoke them in a public place.

If you don't like that the great unwashed masses are smelly you can certainly suggest that they should bathe but it's ridiculous to say that we should send armed agents of the state to enforce what is merely someone's preference for odor. We might as well ticket people for wearing ugly clothing or having bad taste in music. Night Ranger should not result in armed bureaucrats. Nor should a doobie in a park or a public sidewalk.
Posted by Sam Levine http://levinetech.net on July 30, 2014 at 5:54 PM · Report this
Sam Levine 25
@19

"Would it be asking too much to not have it near the carousel in Wrstlake park during Christmas?"

Your Christmas spirit is interfering with their right to enjoy a marijuana cigarette in public. Their marijuana cigarette is simply something you find distasteful. The agent acting with force in this situation is you, not them, and for no reason other than the fact that you find them yucky.
Posted by Sam Levine http://levinetech.net on July 30, 2014 at 5:57 PM · Report this
JonnoN 26
@1 whoooosh

@14 doesn't care about blatant discrimination as long as they get to judge people. Duly noted.

I like new chief so far, transparency and action seems to be her modus operandi. We'll see if it's smoke and mirrors.

And all you usual trolls can fuck off as usual.
Posted by JonnoN http://www.backnine.org/ on July 30, 2014 at 6:05 PM · Report this
Madskillz80 27
Cigarettes smell worse than pot ANY.DAY.OF.THE.WEEK.

Also, I do like how a bunch of you keep saying "smoke in your house!" A lot of these people don't have a house. You say "BUT THE CHILDREN!" Alcohol has been legal for a long time and has done far more damage than weed. So....stop being all dramatic..
Posted by Madskillz80 on July 30, 2014 at 6:22 PM · Report this
28
What 26 said.
Posted by NineOneFour on July 30, 2014 at 6:23 PM · Report this
29
I blame McGinn for his increased focus on downtown crime. and I think that's a good thing.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2…
Responding to a growing focus on downtown crime and street problems, Seattle police announced Wednesday they plan to shift some bicycle patrols to foot beats in parts of downtown.

"Foot beats are the most effective way to deter the sorts of behavior that can negatively affect our quality of life," Interim Police Chief John Diaz said in a written statement.

Diaz said police departments across the country consider foot beats to be a "best practice" to deal with concerns about civility.

The redeployment, which will start April 1 under a pilot project, was ordered at the direction of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 30, 2014 at 6:29 PM · Report this
DOUG. 30
@29: McGinn lost. Get over it.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on July 30, 2014 at 6:36 PM · Report this
31
Everyone who says "Just don't smoke in public, then" is either oblivious or blinded by privilege. Not everyone owns a house. Where is a renter who lives in a non-smoking building supposed to go to smoke weed?
Posted by Hyrax on July 30, 2014 at 6:39 PM · Report this
Eastpike 32
@31 it's more about not smoking weed in pain view of police. This is happening in Westlake center as I type this.
Posted by Eastpike on July 30, 2014 at 6:42 PM · Report this
33
When the name of the officer is revealed I'm betting win on the last name beginning with J, place on last name beginning with Bu, and show...not sure, but as a wild guess Be.

When I-75 made marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority there were a couple of officers who accounted for a goodly % of arrests and they're both still on day bikes.
Posted by gnossos on July 30, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Fred Casely 34
Here in DC, possession has just been decriminalized and is now a $25 fine, which I think is about what the fine is in Seattle for public smoking. Get caught doing that here and it's $500 and 60 days (which they lowered from 6 months.) If you're on Federal property – and it's not always easy keeping track of whether you are or aren't – even simple possession can get you a year in jail.

Still, I smell it on the street all the time. Never been busted for public smoking, but whenever I've come close it was because I didn't see a cop who was on a bike until it was almost too late.
Posted by Fred Casely on July 30, 2014 at 6:51 PM · Report this
35
@5 I think there's a possibility that it it's actually the one vigilant cop who's "colorblind." He's out there every day biking up and down third ave and whenever he sees someone smoking. If he ticketed black people according to their 7% representation, that would mean he would've handed out 4-5 of his 66 tickets to black people. But really, POC representation is higher than that in the downtown core. I don't know what it is exactly, but a share of 15% would equal 10 tickets handed out. So, if this guy was ticketing in line with demographics, that would mean an additional 17 tickets were handed out to make that 32.9% number. Which, (faux)coincidentally, is the number of tickets issued by officers other than our crusader. Maybe it's just that every other cop but this guy is only issuing tickets to black people?
Posted by crasher on July 30, 2014 at 6:53 PM · Report this
delirian 36
I don't give a shit about the tickets, but what I want to know (and The Stranger should check) is if this cop who stopped and issued these tickets used this as an excuse to do searches or find other excuses to make an arrest. Clearly the cop is pretty gung-ho, so this is a potential outcome.
Posted by delirian on July 30, 2014 at 6:53 PM · Report this
seandr 37
Fuck officer Buzz Kill.
Posted by seandr on July 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM · Report this
38
Ah it is good to be a middle age middle class White Guy, I've been pulled up on several times a few after doing a one hit, while walking my dogs around my intercity neighborhood late at night, drinking a beer, and after pulling down the hood of my hoodie (it gets cold where I live and I don't like hats), just got asked if I had doggie poop bags on me. Rather apologetically.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on July 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM · Report this
40
@31
Really. So you have a problem finding a place to smoke pot and you go to Steinbrueck or Occidental Parks, two of the busiest and most intensely-policed parks in Seattle.
Sheesh.

Btw, this ONE cop does seem to have been a bit of a cowboy and overly-enthusiastic at his job:
http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014…
Posted by caution&daring on July 30, 2014 at 6:58 PM · Report this
yelahneb 41
Comment sections for issues like this are just honeypots for racists, right? Now we know who's who - awesome.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on July 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM · Report this
delirian 43
@20: That might have to be the compromise. By using vape pens, cops can't tell what you are inhaling so they don't have to deal with it, sort of like paper bags:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2fV-_eiK…
Posted by delirian on July 30, 2014 at 7:03 PM · Report this
fletc3her 44
@41 My friend is black! Or, just overly tan.
Posted by fletc3her on July 30, 2014 at 7:12 PM · Report this
46
@40

No, I don't smoke in those places but then I don't live around there, either. I guess I'm fortunate enough not to live near there. If I did, should I have to travel somewhere out of my way just for 4 hits?

I most often wander around the alley behind my apt when I smoke. But I think adults shouldn't be harassed for smoking a joint walking down the sidewalk. Unless you're blowing smoke directly in someone's face or being loud and unruly, people should leave you alone.
Posted by Hyrax on July 30, 2014 at 7:15 PM · Report this
47
There is one very good reason to keep post off the street: we want to make sure that the I-502 stays and that the feds don't see an excuse to do something dumb.

That means that we in Washington should be mildly discrete in our pot-smoking.

Since one of the rules set down -- "can't smoke in public" -- seems pretty mild, I have no problem with cops ticketing people smoking in public _if it's a really public spot_ like downtown parks where lots of tourists are going to see it and may freak.

As to people who live in non-smoking apartment buildings, I see the issue and I am sure that there will be some way around ... brownies?
Posted by caution&daring on July 30, 2014 at 7:16 PM · Report this
50
Abuse of power, huh? Sure hope he's fired.
Posted by GermanSausage on July 30, 2014 at 7:23 PM · Report this
52
@51, if he were enforcing the law, he wouldn't have been violating civil rights.

That's a much more serious offense than smoking in public, you know. I mean, you are one of those law and order types, right? Or should laws only apply to black people, in your opinion?
Posted by GermanSausage on July 30, 2014 at 7:34 PM · Report this
53
@40, Joker of Joker and Burns is a racist ? So much for that 2005 medal and the Neighborhood Corrections Initiative.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/P…
'Get it together'

Riding in the van, Mills said a lot of the people associated with the program have been in law enforcement for a long time and welcomed trying to get to the sources of crime. "Ultimately it's about breaking cycles," she said.

A few days after the early morning rounds, Joker and Burns were back patrolling Third Avenue and Pike Street on their bicycles. A young man said he was waiting on the corner while his girlfriend shopped "because I don't like shopping." But the officers had noticed him roaming around downtown all day, and a check on his corrections records found he'd violated the terms of his release by failing a drug test. They warned him to leave. He stuck around, so they took him to jail.

The man was upset. He'd gotten a job, he said. He'd been checking in with his probation officer every day.

Burns said it was true he hadn't seen him doing anything illegal. But hanging out downtown, Burns said, could only lead to trouble.

"I could just do nothing and just wait for you to do something and throw in you in jail," Burns told him. "But the only reason I'm on you is I want you to get it together.

"Dude, you really have to get it together."
Posted by ChefJoe on July 30, 2014 at 7:36 PM · Report this
54
Defenders of this cop conveniently ignore the most important information available.
1: this cop is very public about his displeasure with marijuana legalization. He's a cop; its his job to uphold and respect the law. He doesn't get to choose which laws he will or will not enforce, or which laws he will choose to over zealously enforce out of petulance and spite.
2: he made his unprofessionalism clear when he addressed tickets "Attn: Petey Holmes". This is gross insubordination.

At this time, the police have been given an official mandate to be hands off about enforcement of public use while the public adjusts to legalization and what that means. The actions of this cop are petty, counterproductive and juvenile, and damage what little credibility the SPD has left.
Officer Jokela (he has now been identified in the Seattle Times) would do well to remind his petulant, childish self that he is a public servant, patrolling MY streets, in MY city, payed for by MY tax dollars.
If he can't do that in a professional manner, acting in accordance with standards and expectations of MY community, then he fuck right off and get a job with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. I think he might like it there.
Posted by Pol Pot on July 30, 2014 at 7:42 PM · Report this
55
Here are the citations in question: http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/wp-content…
Posted by Sousaphone Colossus on July 30, 2014 at 7:44 PM · Report this
56
@51, the law says this is SPD's lowest law enforcement priority. If there was anything else happening in Seattle that required police officers' attention when he wrote these tickets, he was in violation by wasting time on a lower-priority issue. Any jaywalkers around? Unlicensed pets? What's the clearance rate on auto thefts these days?

There is just no practical way that investigating suspected violation of pot laws in Seattle should ever warrant police time since we passed I-75 years ago. When they get around to their lowest priority, we should think about downsizing the force.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on July 30, 2014 at 7:47 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 57
I'm not going to read all these comments. Would someone be so kind to summarize the consensus for me? One or two sentences. Not much to ask. Ya know, throw off the bells and whistles, and get to the heart of what Sloggers are saying. Thanks.
Posted by dnt trust me on July 30, 2014 at 8:20 PM · Report this
delirian 58
@57: The consensus is that you are a dickhead. It is unanimous and everyone wishes you would go away.
Posted by delirian on July 30, 2014 at 8:31 PM · Report this
Call me Scott 59
I give O'Toole props.
Posted by Call me Scott on July 30, 2014 at 8:32 PM · Report this
60
@54 You're all about the capitalized "MY"'s in there. Curious where you live? I happen to live a block from Occidental Park -- one of only three locations where citations were issued. Does it not matter that I want the police to actually enforce the law in _MY_ neighborhood, on _MY_ streets, in _MY_ community? Because really, the point here is that while pot might be legal, blatantly smoking it in public wherever you want happens not to be. You accuse the cop of "choos[ing] which laws he will or will not enforce" but that's exactly what you're doing -- claiming that this is a law that shouldn't be enforced, in a place that happens to be _MY_ home. I'm happy to provide carpools for everyone in Occidental Park over to your place if you're so inclined?
Posted by psquared88 on July 30, 2014 at 8:44 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 61
This is a prime example of one of the reasons I voted for legalization. The drug laws give overzealous racist cops an excuse to harass and intimidate minorities and anyone they don't like. Selective (ie: racist) enforcement of drug laws is the #1 reason there are a disproportionate number of young black men in prison today.

If you think cops should ticket people for smoking in public, then the cops should be doing so evenly, throughout the city. But that's not what's happening. Instead, you've got one asshole cop with a hate-on for minorities and the poor.

That cop should be fired.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on July 30, 2014 at 8:45 PM · Report this
62
Get rid of that asshole cop.

And then once we've gotten rid of that asshole, let's expect beat-cop public-pot arrests in a given neighborhood to be evenly distributed amongst beat cops patrolling that neighborhood, approximately proportional to public-booze arrests in the same neighborhood, and in line demographically with the neighborhood's demographics (both resident and homeless).
Posted by robotslave on July 30, 2014 at 8:45 PM · Report this
63
Can't smoke in public and it's against the rules to smoke in the rental housing. Safer to take your chances on the street. The city needs some ok to smoke outside areas. One per block. And historically I think police find it easier to surf poor neighborhoods for drug tickets. Rich people do it in their homes. College students have their dorms.
Posted by jd2 on July 30, 2014 at 9:01 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 64
@58
Yo, sweet dude with the tough lookin red shield beside your name. Thanks for the answer. Not quite what I was lookin for. But hey, it's cool bro. You run the show.
Posted by dnt trust me on July 30, 2014 at 9:06 PM · Report this
65
@60- like every other defender of this cop, you ignore the most important facts in this situation.
1: the police have been given an official mandate to issue warnings at this point.
2: nearly every ticket issued so far has been issued by one cop.
3: this cop, Officer Jokela, has been very public about his displeasure with legalization. Ergo, it is logical to assume he is acting out by issuing these citations.
4: he engaged in unprofessional conduct and insubordination by addressing the citations "Attn: Petey Holmes" this further substantiates the conclusion @3 that he is acting out of spite and maliciousness.

As to your point about wishing to have people smoking pot near your residence ticketed, fair enough, I suppose. After some as of now undefined grace period, they will be. But at this juncture, the orders given to patrolmen are to issue warnings.

I am much more concerned with angry, rogue SPD officers acting out in public than I am with your desire to seek recompense over the minor inconveniences of urban living.

I do not want rogue cops with obvious anger control issues patrolling MY streets. I do not want them paid for their disservice with MY tax dollars.
Posted by Pol Pot on July 30, 2014 at 9:36 PM · Report this
66
@60- also, for what it's worth, people smoke pot on the street in my neighborhood all the time. Whoopty doo.
I lived in pioneer square for four years. Granted, that was two decades ago, but if your major gripe with pioneer square living is that people smoke pot in occidental square, then there has been some rather phenomenal positive changes down there since I was a resident.
Posted by Pol Pot on July 30, 2014 at 9:42 PM · Report this
67
The guy was just doing further Neighborhood Corrections Initiative-type intervention against known bad actors. If only I could remember the name of that other arrogant blowhard who publicly called out Petey Holmes for failing to prosecute the low-level crimes being cited downtown....
Posted by ChefJoe on July 30, 2014 at 9:43 PM · Report this
68
O'Toole's on it. Finally, a good chief cop. So far, at least.
Posted by sarah70 on July 30, 2014 at 9:48 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 69
Those citations make for a bizarre read. Every single one I read through referenced a seemingly polite and cooperative defendant. Hey, what's the difference between the $27 and $103 infractions? Doesn't seem to do with a "possessing" vs "smoking" distinction, nor does the issue date seem to factor in (assuming the PDF is scanned roughly chronologically.)
Posted by mikethehammer on July 30, 2014 at 10:01 PM · Report this
70
@54 nailed it. The "attention petey holmes" written on the vast majority of tickets, as well as things like "allowed to keep his dope per our silly protocols" is the main issue here (questions of disproportionality aside - a problem with most all crimes). Message from the Chief to the rank and file, IMO - be professional or get the fuck out.

It does seem odd that we have a law that only one cop enforces....if that's the case, why even have that law?
Posted by jefe on July 30, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
71
As I bet in @33, when the last name of the officer is revealed it will begin with a J...and to the rescue rides Randy Jokela. Coincidence? I think not. He was also responsible for a huge percentage of arrests that took place post I-75. He is, by many accounts, a good officer. He is also very much opposed to drug policy reforms enacted locally.

Hopefully the new Chief can somehow circle this square and get him to either accept change or change his beat.
Posted by gnossos on July 30, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
IndicaDogwalk 72
FIRST STEP: Find and publish the officer's full name and precinct.
Posted by IndicaDogwalk on July 30, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
COMTE 74
@72:

Dude, put down the bong - his name and posting has been mentioned at least three times in this thread alone. Seriously, at least try to keep up with the rest of the class, um'kay?
Posted by COMTE on July 30, 2014 at 10:58 PM · Report this
IndicaDogwalk 75
No need to be a bitch, COMTE. I just scrolled to the bottom and commented. Lay off and quit being a shit.

Why don't you hammer into #73 as well, huh?
Posted by IndicaDogwalk on July 30, 2014 at 11:12 PM · Report this
76
@73 - Hi Officer Jokela! Welcome to SLOG!
If you don't like working in Seattle, don't.
Posted by Pol Pot on July 30, 2014 at 11:12 PM · Report this
McBomber 77
To all of you who are offended by a whiff of outdoor pot smoke:
Please shower two times every day, brush your teeth after every meal, stop farting in public, pick up your precious dog's shit, never idle your car, never spit on the sidewalk, always give pedestrians the right-of-way, don't mow your lawn on Sunday, stop yelling into your phone, and step aside when I'm behind you in the grocery line.
Or... You could move out of the city.
Posted by McBomber on July 31, 2014 at 12:23 AM · Report this
78
I feel the same way about lighting up in public as I do about drinking in public, there's a time and a place for everything and in public is not the right place. Besides, it's illegal and I'd rather not jeopardize the hard fought victory for legalization because of a few posers with no self control. It's always the 5% of us behaving like idiots who ruin it for the 95% who aren't.
Posted by RickFromTexas on July 31, 2014 at 12:56 AM · Report this
NaFun 79
Gnossos @3: come up and claim your prize, it was Jokula!
Posted by NaFun http://www.dancesafe.org on July 31, 2014 at 3:44 AM · Report this
AFinch 80
Ha! So good to have real data now...and the picture is so much clearer: one a-hole, who doesn't like the new laws, engages in bureaucratic rebellion by sending the elected LE a pile of these...plus, he gets to do so by abusing the people he probably enjoyed repressing previously with discriminatory laws.
Posted by AFinch on July 31, 2014 at 5:39 AM · Report this
83
@79: Whatever post was previously @3 had been pulled ("trolling") by the time I read this 60-90 minutes later.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on July 31, 2014 at 7:22 AM · Report this
84
Oh, @33, not @3.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on July 31, 2014 at 7:25 AM · Report this
85
The cop who wrote those citations is Randall A. "Randy" Jokela #5453, according to a source for Steve Miletich and Jennifer Sullivan of Seattle Times.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on July 31, 2014 at 7:34 AM · Report this
kcrobinson 86
@69 I'm confused too.

Stranger, your latest article on pot ticket prices puts the cost at $27 per ticket. Here you mention $55. Some tickets are $103. Can we get some clarification on what the law is?
Posted by kcrobinson http://www.facebook.com/kcrobinson on July 31, 2014 at 7:41 AM · Report this
DOUG. 87
I'm pretty sure Randy Jokela lives in Enumclaw. Incidents like these go to show that Seattle needs officers who actually live in Seattle and can relate to the values and culture of our community.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on July 31, 2014 at 7:41 AM · Report this
88
Based on what I've seen, this probably has more to do with *where* in public people choose to smoke. Of the people walking down the street purposely blowing it at others, they tend to be of a certain demographic, as highlighted in the article. *others* smoke it in public quite a bit, but more often on a park bench or outside of a bar where people are already smoking cigarettes.

There's a not so subtle difference between walking down the street discretely toking and burning a giant blunt puffing clouds of smoke on everyone nearby. The latter group is just trying to get a rise out of people and maybe start a fight - not cool at all.
Posted by nothingtosay on July 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Citizen J 89
Who would have thought an officer of the law could abuse his power in such a manner, my goodness! LOL. Kinda moot officer I can go on seattle.janeslist.org right now and get anything I want, quasi-legally at the very least. But on the flip side I wouldn't expect to get very far stumbling down the road with a bottle os jack in my hand in a school zone, would I...
Posted by Citizen J http://seattle.janeslist.org on July 31, 2014 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 91
Dear folks wondering about the $55 and $27 discrepancy: The citation itself is for $27, but citations include assessment fees (essentially a processing charge). In this case, that brings it up to $55, which is why I described it as "punishable by $55 in fines." Ignoring the assessment fees is ignoring the real cost of a ticket. I wrote about the total cost last year.
Posted by Dominic Holden on July 31, 2014 at 12:20 PM · Report this
92
@25: Uh, they're polluting the common air. Their behavior impacts others, so it is entirely reasonable for their behavior to be restricted.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on July 31, 2014 at 12:23 PM · Report this
93
Does no one else consider the consequences of secondhand weed smoke? If I walk through your cloud, you put my job at risk - the domino effect means that I risk my house, risk my car, and risk my kids' college fund because you want to get high in public. I live next to a North Seattle park and see at least a quarter go up in smoke between several park regulars every day. Do the cops respond as they do downtown? No, because the police density is lower and the tourism/business sector is of higher value (seriously, no pun intended) than our kids and other folks enjoying the parks. Either way, I'd like to keep my job, thank you.
Posted by jenc01 on July 31, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 94
@93. All of the research I have seen points that it is negligible that second hand smoke would ever show up on a drug test. And for it to do so you would need to have serious second hand exposure to do so. So really...you have nothing to worry about. The sky is not falling.
http://mobiledrugtestinglongisland.wordp…
Posted by Akbar Fazil on July 31, 2014 at 1:21 PM · Report this
95
Jesus, 93, get a grip. Walking through a cloud of smoke in a park is not going to cause you to lose your job.
Posted by clashfan on July 31, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
COMTE 97
@75:

I am not responsible for your inability to read a comment thread. Don't want to look like a clueless nube - read what other people have posted ahead of you, before posing questions that have already been answered - repeatedly.

And I'm not "hammering" into @73, because it's an Unregistered Comment and I don't READ unregistered comments, and therefore do not comment on things I haven't read.
Posted by COMTE on July 31, 2014 at 9:26 PM · Report this
98
This is not the first time Officer Jokela has been featured on SLOG:
http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives…
Posted by bidab on July 31, 2014 at 9:49 PM · Report this
6 99
I was about to throw my laptop off the desk after reading all these terribly irritating comments, but @93 made it worth it. Oooooooh, the horror! The "domino effect"! The smell of weed could make me lose EVERYTHING! Lolz for hours. Thank you.
Posted by 6 on August 1, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Renton Mike 100
@91 Damn, that's worse than Ticketmaster.
Posted by Renton Mike on August 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this

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