Local news outlets are reporting that a suspect was shot in Belltown by law enforcement during a joint narcotics operation involving the Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff's Office. The Seattle Police Department issued a statement that claimed investigators attempted to arrest a man inside a vehicle during the operation. As they approached, officers reported seeing a gun. Two Seattle police officers and two King County deputies opened fire. The suspect was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Seattle PD. The Valley Investigation Unit will examine law enforcement's involvement in the shooting.
War on Drugs Rages On
Drug arrests have a fraught history in the United States. The disproportionate arrest rates of men of color have long been a criticism against the harsh drug policies put into place several decades ago. The New York Times recently investigated the status of the "War on Drugs" to see if changes, such as the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in many states, as well as the decriminalization of marijuana in certain municipalities, has had a significant impact on the rate of drug-related arrests.
Perhaps surprisingly, the data show that such changes have not impacted the rate of drug-related arrests. According to data released by the FBI in late 2019, there were 1.7 million arrests for drugs in the United States in 2018, and that number has increased every year since 2015. During the same time period, the country saw a decrease in arrests for other offenses, such as violent and property crimes.
Drugs remain the top reason people are arrested in the United States for the past 10 years. The majority of these arrests (86%) are for possession. Interestingly, many of these arrests don't result in conviction: some are dismissed, while others result in pleas to a lesser offense. African-Americans and Hispanics continue to be arrested at a disproportionate rate as compared to their white counterparts. Researchers noted that one factor in this disparity was the type of drug for which different racial groups are most commonly arrested: caucasian individuals are mainly arrested for heroin and methamphetamine (among the hard drugs), while African Americans are much more likely to be arrested for crack. However, the overall arrest rates for possession of heroin and meth are relatively low.
Defense Against Seattle Drug Charges
Our state (as well as the city of Seattle) has been progressive in drug policy, such as implementing diversion court programs for nonviolent offenders and legalizing recreational marijuana. However, we are still seeing the effects of the War on Drugs. A drug-related conviction could have serious impacts on employment, education, housing, and more. If you've been charged with a drug offense, don't try to fight without an experienced, aggressive attorney on your side. Contact the law office of former King County prosecutor Steve Karimi today by calling our office at 206-621-8777 or reach out to us online.