September 28, 2012
Asset forfeiture is when a police officer takes a person’s property after arrest, without ever charging that person with a crime.
Poor and minority populations have to live in fear of having their cash and cars stolen, while the promise of cars and cash incentivizes police to make illegitimate arrests.
When a community learns to expect victimization by its protectors, it learns it has no refuge from victimization by anyone.
If your own arrest is more likely than an investigation of the crime you’re reporting, you learn not call for help. This is a huge part of why poor and minority communities are unrelentingly ravaged by crime.
In addition to eroding relations between poor and minority populations and law enforcement, asset forfeiture denies our most disadvantaged communities due process.
Roughly 86 percent of the instances in which the government took cash, computers, cars, homes, life savings, investments, property or other assets, it did so without approval from a judge, a verdict from a jury, or any meaningful form of due process.
All this is why asset forfeiture is reason number 637 why the war on drugs is ethically and economically ruinous.
And it’s reason number 637 the victims of asset forfeiture need to be able to Call420.
P.S. If you or someone you know is a victim, read this.
Photo by Elvert Barnes.