Civil Forfeiture: Legal Theft
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Civil Forfeiture: Legal Theft

We may not be able to trust the people we should trust the most.

Civil Forfeiture: Legal Theft

As a society, we rely on the police to protect us. And the majority of the time, I believe law enforcement intentions are good. However, we have turned a blind eye to a horrific injustice called civil forfeiture. This is when an officer seizes private property from an individual who is suspected of a crime. This property can then be kept by the officer who took it, even if the individual in question is not convicted of any crime. There are been countless cases of civil forfeiture abuse, like what happened to Tan Nguyen.

Tan Nguyen had just won fifty-thousand dollars at a casino. He was pulled over, the officer confiscated his winnings and threatened to tow his car if he spoke up about it. However, Nguyen did earn his winnings back, at the cost of an attorney. Even though Nguyen did have to pay for legal representation, he was actually fortunate he got his money back at all. Unfortunately, this was not the case for George Reby.

Reby was carrying $22,000 in his car when he was pulled over. The officer "suspected" Reby was going to use it for drugs, and even when he proved he was using it to buy a car off eBay, the officer still took his money. Reby comments, "If somebody told me this happened to them, I absolutely would not believe this could happen in America."

You may be thinking, "Though this is completely unjust, are police departments at least using seized assets to better communities in any way?" Not really. Some states (such as Missouri) do have laws that seized property must go to schools, however, there is a federal loophole that allows funds to be spent elsewhere. Here are just some of the ridiculous things law enforcement has spent stolen money on; a sports car for the D.A.R.E program, a margarita machine, and various equipment.

Civil forfeiture is despicable. It shouldn't be legal to be robbed by the same people you expect to protect you. No longer are we innocent until proven guilty. Americans deserve to live in peace knowing they won't lose this month's rent to a margarita machine.

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