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Crime and punishment

Biannual report finds one cop in Seattle issued 80 percent of all marijuana tickets

The officer who gave out 80 percent of all marijuana tickets in Seattle for the first half of the year has been reassigned, Reuters reports.

While analysts compiled data for the Seattle Police Department's first biannual report on marijuana enforcement, it was discovered that 66 of 83 tickets handed out for public marijuana use came from one officer. Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said the same officer attached notes to the tickets, with one indicating "he flipped a coin when contemplating which subject to cite." He later referred to the marijuana laws passed in 2012 that made it legal for adults to purchase cannabis for recreational use as "silly."

The report also found that 36 percent of the tickets issued went to African-Americans, who make up only eight percent of Seattle's population. O'Toole said that the report was designed to bring attention to "anomalies or outliers" in the way tickets are written, and a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department acknowledged that the numbers were disproportionate.