We live in a burgeoning police state where trained mercenaries with flashing lights can pull you off the side of any highway, ask you how much money you have in your vehicle, take it from you, and not charge you with a crime. Robbery and extortion now has a quaint fuzzy name – “The Equitable Sharing Program.” Of course what they are sharing equitably is your money and goods coming from asset forfeiture programs. It was on hiatus for a few months, but now Attorney of Injustice Loretta Lynch has reopened the floodgates of fear, theft and harassment for anyone on the highways.
The Washington Post reports:
“The ‘Equitable Sharing Program’ gives police the option of prosecuting some asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law, particularly in instances where local law enforcement officers have a relationship with federal authorities as part of a joint task force. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize.
“Asset forfeiture is a contentious practice that lets police seize and keep cash and property from people who are never convicted of wrongdoing — and in many cases, never charged. Studies have found that use of the practice has exploded in recent years, prompting concern that, in some cases, police are motivated more by profit and less by justice…
“A wide ranging Washington Post investigation in 2014 found that police had seized $2.5 billion in cash alone without warrants or indictments since 2001.”
Imagine you’re driving down the road with a significant amount of cash to buy some restaurant supplies. And you get stopped and the money is taken. That’s what happened to Mandrel Stuart who was driving on Route 66 in Virginia in 2012, as reported in the Washington Post:
“Over the next two hours, he would be detained without charges, handcuffed and taken to a nearby police station. He also would be stripped of $17,550 in cash — money that he had earned through the Smoking Roosters, a small barbecue restaurant he owned in Staunton, Va. Stuart said he was going to use the money that night for supplies and equipment.”
He wasn’t arrested, nor charged with any driving violation. Authorities just assumed his money was for drug trades. And he has to fight the federal government to get any money back. This is just one story of extreme injustice. What’s more, there is now a cottage industry to extort drivers on U.S. highways. Sometimes the local police are in league with high tech training to learn to steal. The Washington Post has the details:
“[A] private intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System that enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists — criminals and the innocent alike — including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop.
“A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing ‘trophy shots’ of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities.”
If you’ve ever felt those cameras at red light intersections are fund raisers for local government, it’s nothing compared to the this renewed program making theft from Americans legal. This is an outrage. Be aware and for the time being, don’t carry cash as you travel down the interstate.
(Photo credit: Twitika.com)