By Jack Burns
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling which declared police can constitutionally steal your possessions. Called “civil asset forfeiture,” the police are under no obligation to give the property back to you. Instead, police departments will steal your stuff, hold it in storage (accruing fees in most cases), and then sell your stuff to the highest bidder.
Police have no qualms about stealing your property, especially after you’ve been arrested for a crime. Even though every citizen is supposedly innocent until proven guilty, police will routinely confiscate, cash, guns, and real property from those who’ve been charged with a crime, even property from other members of a family living under the same roof. After all, it is difficult to prove ownership without a receipt. More sinister, however, is the fact that you need not even be accused of a crime for police to steal your stuff.
The most egregious case of civil asset forfeiture of which we are aware comes from Oklahoma. To keep society safe, sheriff’s deputies in Muskogee County, Oklahoma robbed a church and an orphanage of $53,000. Real American heroes.
Eh Wah, 40, a refugee from Burma, who became a US citizen more than a decade ago, was traveling with the cash to deliver it to the intended recipients when he was targeted by modern day, state-sanctioned pirates — for a broken tail light.
Eh Wah had been entrusted with the money by the members of his Christian band who had been on a 19-city tour raising funds for the Dr. T. Thanbyah Christian Institute, a religious liberal arts college in Burma serving the Karen community there. And, they had also collected funds for the Hsa Thoo Lei orphanage in Thailand, which serves internally displaced Karen people.
Clearly a vulnerable host for their parasitic process, Eh Wah’s English was incompatible with that of the deputies’ and he was accused of trafficking drugs. A K9 was called to the scene, and, naturally, alerted to the vehicle. As the Free Thought Project has reported in the past, drug dogs will alert to your vehicle nearly every single time they are brought out regardless of actually having drugs or not.
In spite of the fact that not one single bit of contraband was found, Eh Wah was brought to the police station and interrogated for hours. Police even called one of Eh Wah’s friends in the band who confirmed the story, but the cops, with dollar signs in their eyes, still believed that his story was “inconsistent.”