Civil Asset Forfeiture: Policing for Profit

Civil Asset Forfeiture: Policing for Profit

Should police be allowed to consider possession of cash or other assets just cause for an arrest? Should they be allowed to seize assets for their own use without any charge or conviction?

Civil asset forfeiture, like the militarization of police departments, produces an incentive for authorities to wield terror over citizens. When a law-abiding person must fear losing legal assets to law-enforcement without warrant or cause, how is that different than government sanctioned robbery?

What can you do? First, don’t be a target. Proceed about your lawful business, but don’t needlessly expose cash or other assets, especially in a vehicle. You never know when you could be pulled over, legally or otherwise. Second, know your rights and learn what law enforcement in your area is permitted to do and what you can legally do to stand up for your liberty. In many cases, calmly asserting your rights is enough to ensure proper treatment by law enforcement.

Civil asset forfeiture often works for law enforcement because it puts the burden of proof on the accused. One of the pillars of the American justice system is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Civil forfeiture twists this concept until the reverse is true.  Whatever the reasoning behind forfeiture actions by police, they are dangerous in a greater sense because of the negative perception they generate, creating a fear of police intimidation tactics.

Photo: 4th Amendment be Damned! by waltarrrrr, on Flickr



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