What the heck, the police can take away your property even if you’re not accused of any crime? Yes. And while some politicians are outraged, police departments and cities are expanding civil seizures to stuff their pockets at the public's expense.
It’s funny how the party of property rights, freedom and liberty (Republicans), have not done anything about the following problem in their decidedly red states. Don't even get me started on the wimpy Democrats. NPR:
You don't have to be convicted of a crime, or even accused of one, for police to seize your car or other property. It's legal. Several videos online are shedding some light on the controversial practice. The practice is called civil asset forfeiture, and every year it brings cities millions of dollars in revenue, which often goes directly to the police budget. Police confiscate cars, jewelry, cash and homes they think are connected to crime. But the people they belong to may have done nothing wrong.
In one video posted by The New York Times, Harry S. Connelly, the city attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., gleefully describes how the city collects these "little goodies," calling it a "gold mine." He describes to a roomful of local officials from across the state how Las Cruces police officers waited outside a bar for a man they hoped would walk out drunk because they "could hardly wait" to get their hands on his 2008 Mercedes, which they then hoped to put up for auction.
"We could be czars," he tells the room. "We could own the city. We could be in the real estate business."
I put together two short jaw dropping videos that demonstrate how abusive asset seizures have become, victimizing the same everyday Americans the police are supposed to protect:
NY Times: …under a Justice Department program, the value of assets seized has ballooned to $4.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year from $407 million in 2001. Much of that money is shared with local police forces … have raised serious questions about the fairness of the practice, which critics say runs roughshod over due process rights.
In one oft-cited case, a Philadelphia couple’s home was seized after their son made $40 worth of drug sales on the porch. Despite that opposition, many cities and states are moving to expand civil seizures of cars and other assets. Prosecutors estimated that between 50 to 80 percent of the cars seized were driven by someone other than the owner, which sometimes means a parent or grandparent loses their car.