Civil forfeiture seizures by greedy cops and cash-strapped municipalities was a win-win situation for the both of them. Cities and counties, beaten into submission where ever raising taxes on taxpayers meant being crushed by the national Tea Party machine, needed the money from the poor and those without political power to defend themselves. Police, corrupt and increasingly in want of new military gear to terrorize civilians, needed the excuse to treat citizens as the enemy in order to justify using weapons of war on domestic soil. They were both very happy.
Until Eric Holder came along and pulled the rug out from under them.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.
Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.
Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.
The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. The program allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.
“With this new policy, effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons,” Holder said in a statement.
Of course cash and property seizures are by no means over with. It just means more states will turn to state laws in order to conduct pillaging and piracy from citizens...but those may run afoul of the courts. The federal setup made it simple and easy to take property from people for any reason.
But that's over with.
Hey cops? Treat us like the enemy, and guess what? We take away your toys.