Who is more likely to be charged, asked Braddock Supervisor James Walkinshaw. An executive of a defense contractor smoking marijuana on his deck overlooking woods in Clifton or Great Falls, or the Black teen or young adult walking down Route One in Mount Vernon, or on a street in the Annandale or Culmore sections of Fairfax County?
“Correct me, if I’m wrong, but I think the math that you read last time basically said that 30 to 40 percent of the annual marijuana arrests in the county are of African Americans over the last several years. To note for everyone, the African American population in Fairfax is about 10 percent,” Walksinshaw said to Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. during Legislative Committee meetings of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this year.
Fairfax County Police arrested 3,070 people last year for possession of marijuana. Black people were arrested 1,266 times and white people were arrested 1,713 times. In 2018, Fairfax County Police made 4,298 arrests for marijuana possession. Black people were arrested 1,624 times; white people were arrested 2,466 times.
But Black people make up less than 10 percent of the population.
“We’ve peeled back those numbers and it is disproportional,” said Roessler. “When you pull it back and you start looking at the zip codes of where people are coming from and the demographics of the county, it’s disproportionate across the board, any which way we slice it.