It’s getting harder for me to argue with the ‘Defund the Police’ movement.
There is nothing worse than a burglar breaking into your home and stealing your possessions. Having someone point a gun at their business and steal money is not something any business owner looks forward to.
Would you be surprised to find out that another organized group has actually stolen more property from 2000-2020 than burglars…
U.S. Police And Federal Authorities! (I know, everyone usually thinks taxes…)
It was accomplished by leveraging a law known as civil asset forfeiture, which is more like a loophole, according to the Institute for Justice: Between 2000 and 2020, the state and federal governments forfeited—or stole—at least $68.8 billion..”
It is likely that the figure is severely underreported since not every state provides full data. The bottom line is that each year, law enforcement confiscates more money and property than burglars.
Another concerning aspect of the Institute’s report, titled “Policing for Profit,” is revealed. Once property is seized, it’s challenging and sometimes not worthwhile to reclaim it:
Owners must begin by filing a lawsuit in court, negotiating with the seizing agency or prosecutor, or responding to the government in court. Ever been to the DMV? This will be the epitome of speed and efficiency, by comparison.
Most U.S. citizens do not even try to get their property back since there is no guarantee they will get it back. Frequently, the cost of the action will exceed the amount that was seized.
It is therefore extremely hard on property owners to live with this egregious violation of their liberties, but great for local, state, and federal governments looking to score an easy payday.
“Okay,” you say. “But the government only goes after criminals, right?”
Unfortunately, that’s WRONG. The truth is… most civil asset forfeiture happens For no real legal reason-other than the fact that you were discovered to have the assets.
Res ipsa loquitur: “It Speaks for Itself”. You wouldn’t have the assets unless you had procured them under illegal circumstances. That’s the mentality, so the mere fact that you HAVE $500 on you could be considered “suspicious”.
Obviously, the police and state do not normally go after dinky amounts, but what would happen if you decide to buy a used Tesla from a guy in Utah?
Is it really THAT hard to imagine that he might want $8000 in cash?
Guess what: if you get stopped, and they discover the cash on you-kiss it goodbye. “On your way, citizen: we’ll see to it that the illegal funds are punished appropriately so you don’t have to worry about it.”
And assets don’t get the “Innocent until Proven Guilty” assumption; rather, it’s the exact other way around.
In approximately 80 percent of civil asset forfeiture cases, the police don’t even pursue charges.
The worst part is that forfeiture can occur with just a mere suspicion of a crime. Those who have their property seized and want it back face a long (and costly) road to recovery.
That’s because — unlike law enforcement — victims of civil asset forfeiture have to follow the legal process I just outlined, and then roll the dice. They might get their stuff back (at incredible expense) — or they might not.
Many people would call civil asset forfeiture theft, especially if the citizen was never charged with a crime.
Nonetheless, police departments claim that this particular form of theft helps them take down drug kingpins. The problem is, a study from 2020 reveals their excuse doesn’t fly (the median drug take was $1,300 per monetary seizure).
Law enforcement seizes billions in assets at both the state and federal levels, but where does the money go? It’s an interesting question. According to the data, they seem to rob innocent people and profit from the proceeds rather than addressing (and discouraging) crime.
Even when a state has decent legal protection for property owners, law enforcement seems to be able to carry out these seizures effortlessly. Let’s find out what their secret is…
To the untrained ear, “equitable sharing” seems innocent. But when it comes to civil asset forfeiture, this phrase has a far more sinister connotation.
The “Policing for Profit” report explained the basics:
“Equitable sharing gives state and local agencies another avenue for forfeiting property and gaining a share of proceeds—one backed by the resources of the federal government. More than that, though, the program enables law enforcement agencies to circumvent their own state’s forfeiture laws in favor of forfeiting property under federal forfeiture laws […]”
Accordingly, it appears that the Federal Government is giving states the ability to act like the Mafia – taking things from innocent citizens with impunity.
With $68 billion confiscated, it’s likely too lucrative for them to stop voluntarily. Therefore, you should have a backup plan in case this “mafia” tries to confiscate your assets.