You are most likely unfamiliar with a little thing called ‘civil forfeiture’, but it’s time to start doing your research, because it may be coming to a town near you. Such is the case in Texas, where police are seizing valuable assets from residents and using the profit for their own benefit.
In 2013, the District Attorney’s office in Tarrant County made a whole 10% of their budget through civil forfeiture. They confiscated $3.5 million, almost 250 cars, and 440 computers. $845,000 of that money was spent to pay the salaries for 16 office employees. So essentially, authorities are taking private property from citizens in order to cover their own paychecks. As if your hard-earned tax dollars weren’t enough, now your property can be taken as well. It’s a scary thought, but it’s also a painful reality for many Texas residents.
The story worsens, as this was just the amount seized by the D.A.’s office. Other sectors took even more property from Texans. Tarrant County’s narcotics unit seized $666,427 in cash and used $426,058 of it to pay salaries. Watch the video above to see some of the craziest things that were paid for by authorities with money they acquired from seizing residents’ assets.
The people who civil forfeiture really affects are those who have assets to spare. Law enforcement is incentivized to pursue cases where the potential for gain is greatest, so you can see how that opens the door for corruption. A perfect example of this is the case of students who were busted for low-level drug use at Texas Christian University. Police arrested 23 students for selling marijuana and pills, however none of them served any jail time. Instead, police seized $300,000 in property from them in the form of vehicles, cash, computers, phones, and iPads.
While these busted co-eds were probably glad to avoid jail time, they most likely never would have been targeted in the first place if they had nothing to offer, so to speak. There are hardcore drug dealers and criminals to spare roaming the streets, but police chose to go after a group of college kids for some pot and pills. What this means is that it is no longer the crime that matters. You could get stopped for jaywalking and once the cop notices your Rolex, it’s all over.
(Read More: Obama Illegally Seizing Americans’ Bank Accounts)
Part of the problem with civil forfeiture is that the guidelines surrounding it are confusing and shaky at best. In fact, your property can even be taken if you are never charged with a crime. It sounds illegal, but it’s not, which is why the police have sneakily taken to using this loophole in order to line their pockets.
Does this report make your blood boil? It certainly is a startling reminder of the rate at with the police state is expanding. Maybe you have a personal experience with civil forfeiture. We’d love to hear about it! Let us know how you feel in the comments section below.