Civil Asset Forfeiture

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Civil Asset Forfeiture was established for the purpose of preventing the bad guys from using their ill-gotten gains to, say, hire the best lawyers high-dollar for their defense in court. Primarily, it has been a powerful tool in the War on hippies and negoes Drugs.

Naturally, it has only been used in the most proper and restrained ways by our upstanding law enforcement agencies.

Dickinson County Sheriff's Deputy Kalen Robinson pulled over one of Empyreal's vans on Interstate 70 in Kansas, ostensibly because the Colorado tag number was partially obstructed by the license plate frame. Robinson grilled the driver, who explained that she planned to pick up cash from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Kansas City, Missouri, the next day, then take it to a credit union in Colorado, which would entail traveling through Kansas again on the same highway … Robinson stopped the van again as it traveled west on Interstate 70, seizing more than $165,000 in cash from its vault. In September, the Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to keep the money.

The LEAs premise is that cash is used for criminal activity, so if you have a bunch of it, you were probably doing something wrong. In essence, money is dirty unless you can prove that it is not. Luckily for the LEAs, it is extremely difficult to prove your money is innocent, so they get to keep it. And spend it.

In some cases, they sieze steal a thousand dollars from a person and the person has to spend more to get it back than was taken. However,

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies stopped Empyreal vans three times in November, December, and January, seizing more than $1 million … Sheriff's Deputy Jonathan Franco pulled over one of the company's vehicles, supposedly because it was following a tractor-trailer truck too closely … after the driver told him the van was carrying cash … though it should have been clear that Empyreal was not violating any state laws, the cops seized about $700,000. The sheriff's office later told the company's lawyer the money "was transferred to the FBI for civil forfeiture."

… (a month later) the same deputies pulled over the same vehicle, driven by the same employee, ostensibly because he "slightly exceeded the speed limit and prematurely activated his turn signal." … "the driver's operation of the Empyreal vehicle was completely lawful." The company says "the deputies had planned the stop in advance and would have pulled over the driver and the Empyreal vehicle regardless of how carefully or lawfully it was driven."

The deputies claimed a drug-sniffing dog alerted to the van, which Empyreal says also is not true: "Video footage from the vehicle does not show the dog alert on the vehicle. Instead, it shows the dog is barely interested in the vehicle." This time the cops seized about $350,000. The deputies, who were audibly excited about the $700,000 haul, were somewhat disappointed by the relatively small size of the second seizure. Based on an audio recording by the van's security system, the lawsuit describes this exchange: "One of the deputies said, 'That's it?' …"

This is highway robbery, with badges.
 

Thomas Veil

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This is highway robbery, with badges.
so far perfectly legal too.

Right on both counts. And Biden's Justice Department and FBI are participating in this lawless activity! :mad:

We need laws to strictly limit civil forfeitures, including monetary punishments for law enforcement officers and agencies that abuse the practice. BS like "premature activation of a turn signal" just doesn't nearly pass the laugh test.

In the meantime, I know we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it sounds like those businesses would be safer transporting that cash in smaller amounts in regular cars using alternate routes.
 
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