NEW YORK - A City Council meeting got heated Monday over claims the NYPD targets people of color for marijuana possession arrests.
Police Commissioner James O'Neill did acknowledge there is an issue with a disproportionate number of arrests for black and Latino people compared to whites.
Still, he denies officers seek out certain groups of New Yorkers.
"It seems like the NYPD is preying on black and brown communities because these are easy, would you agree easy summonses, arrests," asked City Councilman Donovan Richards.
"I steadfastly reject that idea that these arrests are racially motivated. I do recognize that a disparity exist and I know these types arrests affect certain racially groups more than others," O'Neill said.
O'Neill says there have been 150,000 fewer arrests in the last four years for marijuana possession.
He adds the department is studying why more people of color continue to be arrested for that particular offense.