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ID:

695

Date:

2014-10-11

Headline:

Asset seizures fuel police spending

Reporter's name:

Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Steven Rich

Delay/denial:

No

Lawsuit:

No

Fees:

No

Media outlet:

Washington Post

City:

Washington, DC

Summary:

Since 2008, state and local police have seized and retained over $2 billion in cash and property from people, many of whom were never convicted of, or even prosecuted for, crimes. Authorized as a way to hinder organized crime, such seizures have blossomed into an alternative source of funding for local law enforcement.

Notes:

The Washington Post used FOIA to obtain 43,000 reports since 2008 that showed the Department of Justice encourages state and local law enforcement agencies to seize money and property - without requiring any subsequent legal process - and retain up to 80% of the value of the assets seized.

Keywords:

police, law enforcement, seizure, property, crime, Department of Justice, DOJ, organized crime, forfeiture, asset seizure, Equitable Sharing

Impact:

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that DOJ would cease its "Equitable Sharing" program - though critics noted that the DOJ's change of policy might only eliminate about 14% of the seizures, while maintaining a loophole and not addressing most state/local seizures. (See "Rule of Law 1, Outrageous Police Power 0," http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/01/17/rule-of-law-1-outrageous-police-power-0-eric-holder-limits-asset-seizure-equitable-sharing-program/ and "How the Press Exaggerated Holder's Forfeiture Reform," http://reason.com/blog/2015/01/19/how-the-press-exaggerated-holders-forfei)

URL:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/10/11/cash-seizures-fuel-police-spending/


Agencies:

DEA
DHS
DOJ
ICE

States:

AZ
CA
CO
DC
GA
MA
MD
MO
NC
NM
OH
OK
TX
VA

Categories:

civil rights
law enforcement


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