New weed law leads to drop in gun busts, NYPD sources say

The Big Apple’s latest surge in shootings has been accompanied by an equally alarming drop in gun arrests — which cops largely blame on the state’s resolution to legalize weed, The Post has discovered.

Under NYPD enforcement pointers outlined in a March 31 memo that cited the brand new pot law ban, cops are banned from looking out a car’s trunk simply because they odor pot throughout a visitors cease.

The “sweeping changes” — which took impact instantly — additionally prohibit cops from looking out anybody only for toking up “almost anywhere that cigarette smoking is allowed.”

But giant numbers of gun busts have sometimes been made by cops who odor recent or burnt marijuana after pulling over a automobile, in accordance to NYPD sources.

Last 12 months, 33 p.c of all gun-possession arrests resulted from car stops, with a majority of these additionally involving weed, a supply conversant in the matter mentioned.

Before the brand new law went into impact, that quantity rose to 45 p.c this 12 months, the supply mentioned.

NYPD statistics present that there have been a complete of 1,409 gun arrests — or a median of 108 per week — from Jan. 4 by means of April 4.

But through the 5 weeks that ended May 9, most of which have been lined by the brand new pot law, there have been simply 209 gun busts — slicing the typical by greater than half to simply 53 per week.

At the identical time, shootings throughout April skyrocketed 166 percent — to 149 from 56 throughout the identical month in 2020, in accordance to NYPD CompStat information launched final week.

The previous week additionally noticed shootings greater than double — to 36 from 15 — in contrast to the identical interval final 12 months.

That grim tally included the three harmless bystanders wounded by stray bullets in Times Square on Saturday — amongst them a 4-year-old woman from Brooklyn, Skye Martinez, who was looking for toys together with her household.

NYPD officers in Times Square following a triple shooting on May 8, 2021.
NYPD officers in Times Square following a triple taking pictures on May 8, 2021.
James Keivom

The suspect in that case — Farrakhan Muhammad, a 31-year-old CD peddler — was allegedly aiming at his brother when he opened hearth on the Crossroads of the World, sources have mentioned.

“These laws are handcuffing cops and creating a Wild West environment where everyone carries a gun and settles their problems on the spot with a shootout,” a law enforcement supply mentioned.

Countless numbers of weapons have been taken off the streets throughout car searches that may not be performed thanks to the brand new weed law, sources mentioned.

Recent examples embody:

  • A .380-caliber pistol was seized after cops stopped a automobile at Lorimer and Boerum streets in Brooklyn for having excessively tinted home windows round 7 p.m. on March 17. Cops smelled weed and the driving force turned very agitated, so the cops searched him and his passenger, who was carrying the gun.
  • A .45-caliber pistol and a revolver have been seized after cops stopped a automobile for failing to sign in entrance of 15 Grafton Street in Brooklyn round 10:45 p.m. on March 19. Cops noticed some weed in plain view and the automobile was impounded and searched. The weapons have been discovered in the trunk.
  • A .25-caliber handgun was seized after cops stopped a Honda at FDR Drive and 117th Street in Manhattan for having excessively tinted home windows and an obscured license plate round 8:30 p.m. on March 19. Cops smelled pot and noticed a stash on the again seat, main to a search in which the gun was discovered hidden behind the automobile’s gasoline door.

“None of these guns would be recovered today because of the new laws,” a Brooklyn detective mentioned.

“There are way too many guns on the streets, but we need help from our elected officials to take guns off the streets — not keep them out there.”

In addition to the up to date search pointers that resulted from the legalization of pot, law-enforcement sources mentioned cops are additionally being discouraged from attempting to discover weapons due to a brand new law that makes it simpler to sue them over alleged misconduct.

The invoice eliminating the defense of “qualified immunity” for cops was handed by the City Council, 37-11, on March 25 and Mayor de Blasio quietly let it robotically change into law with out his signature — and go into impact instantly — on April 26.

In a letter to NYPD captains, sergeants and officers, their unions’ legal professionals “strongly cautioned” them towards any conducting any stops or searches “unless you are certain that you are clearly and unequivocally within the bounds of the law.”

The letter, obtained by The Post, notes that “particularly in the current environment … your actions may subject you and your family to civil liability and monetary damages.”

“Qualified immunity is talked about extensively,” a Manhattan cop mentioned.

“Cops are worried. If they take any kind of police action, are they going too far and what, if any, are the ramifications?”

A Brooklyn cop additionally mentioned the specter of getting sued “is in the back of cops’ minds when they make a car stop or confront someone.”

“Cops are definitely less proactive — but that is what the politicians want,” the officer mentioned.

Neither City Hall nor the NYPD instantly returned requests for remark.

Additional reporting by Julia Marsh

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