Seattle Critics Assail Biased Drug Enforcement


Advocates of increased drug treatment met this week with Seattle City Council members to argue that the current war on drugs it is at best ineffective and at worst expensive and unfair, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “We really must stop these wasteful practices,” said Roger Goodman of the King County Bar Association. Councilman Nick Licata, who heads the committee on issues dealing with law enforcement, said that the city should begin working on drug treatment as a way of reducing street-level drug dealing, rather than relying on law enforcement to arrest street dealers.

Criminologist Katherine Beckett of the University of Washington discussed a study showing that while blacks account for less 9 percent of the city’s population, they make up 64 percent of those police arrest for dealing drugs. The vast majority of drug users and dealers are white. Six accused street dealers are arguing that police enforce drug laws is a racially biased manner. Last month, the group won a legal victory that allows it to question several top-level police officials about drug-enforcement policies. Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, in a new book, “Breaking Rank,” will argue for decriminalizing drugs.


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