According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Black people make up only 30% of Albany’s population. According to an investigation by the Albany Police Department, Black people made up a whopping 97% of marijuana arrests made last year. Members of the local NAACP chapter are extremely disturbed by the data that was just released.

The investigation took place from July 9, 2019 to July 9, 2020 and there were 134 arrests or citations written during that time period. Out of 134 arrests, only four white people were charged with marijuana crimes. That means 130 people who are not white were charged with these crimes, even though the majority of Albany residents consider themselves white.

Ms. Deborah Brown-Johnson, who is the president of the local branch of the NAACP, has questions about this investigation. She said, “Questions still exist. What’s going on here, is this a targeted group?“

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan made a statement declaring that city officials would examine the report and work toward overhauling the police force. She said, “The city of Albany Police Reform Collaboration will be undertaking a comprehensive review of the Albany Police Department data associated with arrest by race, gender, and other demographics.“

Police Chief Eric Hawkins says that his office will also examine the disparities in the data for arrests made by his department.

People in the black community always knew that we are treated unfairly, especially in the criminal justice system. The data reported from this investigation is still somewhat shocking.

Marijuana is legal in many states in the United States, so why are people still being arrested for having marijuana? Also, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that black people probably are being targeted when African Americans only make up 97% of the arrests.

Maybe black people are the only people in Albany using marijuana? This is highly unlikely, in my opinion. Just like Jay-Z said "Men Lie Women Lie, numbers don't." What are your thoughts?

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