A Brooklyn judge is taking a stand against the NYPD’s practice of writing summonses for drinking in public, says the New York Times. Police wrote 124,498 summonses last year for drinking in public, far more than for any other violation. Judge Noach Dear, a former city councilman, dismissed a case Thursday, saying that police had to present more than sniff-test evidence. They must prove that the beverage in question was alcoholic–by using a laboratory test, for example.
Dear made it clear that he hoped his interpretation of the city's public drinking law would persuade the NYPD to reconsider its enforcement of the ordinance. He wrote that the department singled out blacks and Hispanics when issuing public drinking summonses, usually a $25 fine. He said his staff reviewed a month's worth of past public-drinking summonses issued in Brooklyn and found that 85 percent of the summonses were issued to blacks and Latinos, while only 4 percent were issued to whites. Brooklyn's population is about 36 percent white.