If you thought asset forfeiture was only for actual criminals, including drug lords and white collar fraudsters, you’ll find this very disturbing indeed.
Basically, accounts of police (at local as well as federal levels) confiscating cars, cash, and houses, even when no crime is committed and no charges are filed. Some cases involve duress to sign waivers (to forfeit property to police) to avoid being charged of a felony and immediately locked up. Another involved pressure to forfeit property to avoid having a couple’s children taken away from them.
The forfeitures often target poor people (with no affordable legal recourse) and target Blacks and Hispanics far more than other racial groups.
The motive is money. Some states allow for wide discretion by police departments in how they allocate re-possessed money and property. Some jurisdictions receive a high percentage of their funding from forfeitures.
The practice is shameful and unconstitutional, unless in extreme cases and with a high level of oversight. When will jack booted thugs in law enforcement be held accountable for this behavior?