19 Jun 2006

NYPD Cops Steal Cars

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Blatant violation of traditional Anglo-American liberties, and of the US Constitution, by police and prosecutors simply seizing (without process) the property of persons suspected of a crime is one of the most appalling fruits of the War on Drugs. Horror stories of local cops in Florida driving around in Ferraris and Porsches added to the constabulary fleet after seizure from wealthy tourists, of a Vermont granny losing her home because a visiting grandson was caught with pot, of the Hispanic cleaning woman who had her live savings taken “on suspicion” (what, other than drug dealing, could a Hispanic woman possibly be doing with a large sum of cash?), and so on have been showing up in news columns for the last few decades.

But, now the same highly dubious principle has been extended by Mayor Bloomberg, and the New York City Police Department, to new levels of legal and moral absurdity: for use in enforcing NYC’s Safety Nazi anti-fireworks laws far outside the borders and legitimate jurisdiction of the Cesspool on the Hudson. The Pennsylvania State Police ought to arrest the lot of them for criminal trespass and car theft.

NY Post story

Cato Institute History of American Forfeiture Law


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