The Institute for Justice (IJ) released what they call the most complete video footage of a civil asset forfeiture they have ever seen. By using Freedom of Information Act requests for police camera footage, they were able to show exactly what it looks like when cops seize the property of innocent people on the spurious grounds of “we think your property could have been used in a crime.” The cops get to keep 80% of what they seize, making it straight-up highway robbery.
In this case, they seized $87,000, the life savings of Stephen Lara, a marine combat veteran who was on his way to his daughter’s house in another state. He was one of the rare lucky ones, because IJ took up his case, and the public exposure so humiliated authorities that they returned his money. See more of the cases IJ defends and consider making a donation. Highway robbery shouldn’t be legal.