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This Hilarious John Oliver Video Explains How Police Can Legally Seize Your Property

By Andrew Koster

What started off as a measure to hurt drug kingpins and their criminal empires by confiscation of their property has morphed into an often abused law enforcement tactic that harms blameless citizens.

“Civil forfeiture,” as the procedure which allows police to seize property suspected of being related to a crime is called, was the subject of a funny and informative John Oliver segment on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight.”

Oliver showcases some of the worst abuses that police departments have engaged in, including seizing cars in Detroit for having been driven to a “funk night” at an art institute where alcohol was being illegally served or taking sums of cash because “common people do not usually carry this much cash.”

In testimony given before a citizen commission, one police chief was surprisingly frank, referring to assets seized as “pennies from heaven” and said the money acquired was sometimes used to buy “toys” that the department could not usually afford. One example of such a toy is the margarita machine bought by a Texas police department.

Read more: The Daily Signal


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