How civil asset forfeiture allows police to take your money even with no arrest
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How civil asset forfeiture allows police to take your money even with no arrest

Richmond : VA : USA | May 22, 2012 at 6:47 AM PDT
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Policing for Profit - The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture is where the government can take your property, even if they never convicted you of an offense. It's a blatant violation of due process. But, we as Americans allow government to get away with it. Why? Well, part of the problem are the anti-drug zealots. To quote Mr. Mackey from South Park, "drugs are bad", but they aren't that bad. Marijuana is in fact less worse than alcohol.

Other drugs are a medical health problem, they shouldn't be a law enforcement problem. After all, we don't lock up all those polluters who are giving us cancer with the chemicals they put in our air and water.

In Tennessee, after your property is taken, even when you aren't charged, you don't even have a right of a hearing before a judge. Get this, the law bars you from such hearing, because supposedly you are a disinterested party, and the government is effectively suing the money.

Yes, suing the money. So, even if you can prove 100% the money is legal, the cop could ignore that, and put whatever he wants on his report to the judge. This happened to a man from New Jersey traveling across the state to buy a car, when he was pulled over for speeding. Heck, in this case, you can see police from different agencies, almost come to physical blows to take the money off of someone. But alas, this isn't supposedly about the money, but reducing the drug supply.

Police commonly target border regions where traffic flows south towards Mexico, instead of north away from Mexico, because the money, instead of the drugs, is much more likely to be coming from that direction. They want the money much more than taking the drugs.

In Camden, County, Georgia, a sheriff had allegations that he used forfeiture money to help build a weekend home. In Webb county, Texas, a district attorney allegations surfaced he used forfeiture money to run commercials for his re-election.

In Chandler, Arizona, police conduct stings outside the city limits, and then reap the money from these stings. In one year, they did these reverse stings 20 times, but only 2 times did they do the traditional stings where they offer to buy drugs. But of course, the Chandler police chief says it isn't about the money. Sure.

Of course, if this was about just taking drugs off the streets of America, there wouldn't only be two of those stings to 20 of the reverse stings. But I like it when figures of authority blatantly lie to me, don't you? By the way, how does Chandler police have authority to do stings outside of their city limits?

Now I get to the worse cases of civil asset forfeiture in the entire nation, Tenaha, TX. This is a small town in Eastern Texas where if you aren't white, you better hope the police don't see you while you are there. That is, if you have more than $100 in your wallet.

Indeed, of 40 people contacted by a lawyer, whose property was taken by the Tenaha police department, one of them wasn't black. Just one, out of 40. To me, if African-Americans weren't targeted for forfeiture by that town's police, that would be just an amazing statistical improbability.

In one case, the police threatened to turn over the two children of a couple to Child Protective Services, unless they turned over their cash. The couple was mixed race, so maybe that really angered the local police.

Here in Wisconsin, in Brown County, Beverly Greer, brought $7500 to bail out her son who was in jail. She was specifically told by the police to bring cash. Well, a drug task force is called in, the dog supposedly smells drugs, and the money is taken. Son not bailed out. These drug sniffing dogs are clearly unreliable and make a joke out of the notion of probable cause.

The money had come from a bank and she had proof of that. I wonder, does this police department sniff the money of anyone coming to bring bail money? It took months for her to get her money back, even with evidence that it was legally obtained. In fact, the police might have insisted on cash for the sole reason to take the money.

This is simply to me, a disgusting abuse by pro-drug warrior zealots who don't care about our rights, liberty or Constitution. The defenders of these actions would defend human rights abuses by the government of China and North Korea. This cannot and should not be tolerated.

Jerome McCollom is based in United States of America, , United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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