Police confiscating Americans’ hard earned cash, as well as a wide variety of other valuables, without an arrest or conviction is a disturbing and growing practice throughput these United States. Since cops get to keep the seized funds and use the money on pretty much anything they want, the practice is becoming endemic in certain parts of the nation. The theft is often referred to simply as civil forfeiture, or civil asset forfeiture. Incredibly, under civil forfeiture laws your property is “guilty until you prove it innocent.”
The extent of the problem came to my attention last summer after reading an excellent article by Sarah Stillman in the New Yorker. The article struck such a chord with me, I penned a post highlighting it and addressing the issue, titled: Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas. That article ended up being one of my most popular posts of 2013.
Fast forward a year, and many mainstream publications have also jumped on the topic. Most notably, the Washington Post published an excellent article last month titled, Stop and Seize, which I strongly suggest reading if you haven’t already.
Fortunately for us all, the issue has also caught the eye of the always hilarious, John Oliver of Last Week Tonight. The following clip from his show is brilliant. Not only is it hilarious, but it will hopefully educate a wider audience about this insidious practice so that it can be stopped once and for all.
As one officer admitted in an affidavit justifying his confiscation of an innocent driver’s cash:
“Common people do not carry this much U.S. currency.”