Leaked NYPD memo: Stop arresting middle-aged drug dealers

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NYPD Narcotics Officers Ordered To Stop Arresting Suspects Over 40
By PIX11

NEW YORK (PIX11) — "I think you are giving a license to criminals to do whatever they want," that from former prosecutor Richard Southard's reaction to an internal NYPD memo leaked to the New York Post that informs NYPD narcotics officers to stop slapping cuffs on suspects who are middle-aged.

Coss Marte is a reformed drug dealer who peddled millions worth of product along the Lower East Side. "I was pushing marijuana and cocaine making over $2 million a year."

While reflecting on his days as a drug dealer, he conveyed that it was not uncommon to deal with violent drug traffickers over 40 years old, which is one of the reasons he was shocked at the leaked memo. "You're over forty, like you are getting a clean slate. You can do whatever you want. You are legal now, it's backwards, it's backwards."

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Leaked NYPD memo: Stop arresting middle-aged drug dealers
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (R) speaks at a news conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (L) to announce changes to New York City's marijuana policy on November 10, 2014 in New York City. The commissioner and Mayor de Blasio announced that the city will start giving out tickets, and court summons, rather than arresting people for possession of 25 grams of marijuana and under. The new guidelines for officers will result in hundreds of less arrests per year, freeing up the police to focus on other crimes. It will also free those caught with the drug from having a damaging arrest
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, at podium left, and District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., second from right, answer questions during a new conference at New York City's Police Department headquarters, Friday, April 12, 2013. Authorities say 41 members of two drug trafficking rings have been indicted in Manhattan. They include 33 members of the "Blocc Boyz" street gang and eight members of the "Money Boyz" street gang. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, third from left, at podium, describes the indictment of 35 members of a large-scale, East Harlem-based drug ring that used a child lookout and sold PCP (phencyclidine) among other drugs, beside a flow chart of those targeted during a news conference at the New York Police Department in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The indictment was the result of a 15-month joint investigation involving the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney's office. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
An NYPD detective arranges guns and ammunition used as evidence during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says detectives arrested a dozen suspected drug dealers running an operation mostly out of Queens. They say suburban men and woman, mostly ages 20 to 25, would dial the dealers up, get on the Long Island Expressway and buy $400 worth of heroin.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (C) walks into a news conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) to announce changes to New York City's marijuana policy on November 10, 2014 in New York City. The commissioner and Mayor de Blasio announced that the city will start giving out tickets, and court summons, rather than arresting people for possession of 25 grams of marijuana and under. The new guidelines for officers will result in hundreds of less arrests per year, freeing up the police to focus on other crimes. It will also free those caught with the drug from having a damaging arrest record. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (C) speaks at a news conference with New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (4th R) to announce changes to New York City's marijuana policy on November 10, 2014 in New York City. The commissioner and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will start giving out tickets, and court summons, rather than arresting people for possession of 25 grams of marijuana and under. The new guidelines for officers will result in hundreds of less arrests per year, freeing up the police to focus on other crimes. It will also free those caught with the drug from having a damaging arrest record. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Former NYPD Sergeant Manny Gomez says that the shift in strategy to a certain age group creates a situation very similar to the recent past. "It hinges also on a potential profiling issue, that they are going for a younger population as opposed to people over 40 which obviously the NYPD is trying to get away from due to recent events."

The memo, which was reportedly signed by Assistant Chief Brian McCarthy, the head of the Narcotics Division, was presented in the last week. It is believed to be an initiative launched in response to the 7% uptick in shootings in year-to-year comparisons.

Gomez, now the President of MG Security Services, says young dealers will use the memo to their advantage. "Sure if the policy is, if the message is, you're not going to be arrested for dealing drugs if you're over forty. The younger drug dealers supply the older drug dealers with the drugs, they go out there and they are going to be profiled as over forty and thus not arrested or even bothered with because the police are now looking for the younger people."

Southard, a former prosecutor and Deputy Bureau Chief in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, says the memo isn't just targeting low level drug dealers. "In the memo it says that they have to report a UF 49 which is a report prepared by the officer to the command justifying why they did what they did and it includes in there, they used the abbreviation CPCS — criminal possession of a controlled substance."

Southward says it is important because, "That is dealing with a different class of drugs and that is the bulk of violent crime."

PIX11 News did reach out to the NYPD for comment on the report. The department did not respond to the inquiry.

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