Georgia State Patrol Troopers seized $36,000 on Sunday evening even though no arrests were made
A vehicle was stopped in Lowndes County, Georgia for failure to move
During the search troopers claim a K-9 unit was tipped off on something inside the car
Troopers found $36,000 in American currency inside a speaker in the trunk
Troopers and WALB referred to the seizure as a major bust even though no arrests were made
Around the country concerns are growing over law enforcement’s ability to seize assets even when a crime has not been committed. A perfect example of this literal highway robbery just occurred in Lowndes County, Georgia on Sunday evening.
Failure To Move
It is reported that just after 5:00 pm, a trooper pulled over a vehicle on I-75 for failure to move over while Lowndes County Captain Ed Christian was performing a traffic stop.
Once the vehicle was stopped, troopers claim that Christian’s K-9 was “tipped off” on something inside the car. While searching the vehicle, 33 bundles of American currency was discovered inside a speaker in the trunk that totaled just over $36,000.
WALB NEWS 10 referred to the stop as a “major bust” on their Facebook page which caused a backlash from angry Facebook users. Why were people angry about the major bust? Because there were no arrests made during the stop, instead, Georgia State Patrol confiscated the money and will now be investigating to see if a crime was committed.
The practice is known as a Civil forfeiture or Civil seizure. The controversial legal procedure allows officers to seize assets on suspicion of a crime, meaning the owner of the assets does not have to be charged with a crime.
Civil procedures, compared to criminal procedures, normally involve two private citizens disputing over assets. Civil seizure gives law enforcement the ability to dispute that property has been involved in a crime. It then becomes the owner’s responsibility to prove that their assets were not involved in a crime in order to get their property back. As ridiculous as that may sound, it happens every day.
Those for civil seizure argue it is a powerful weapon against criminals, while those against it say it is harmful to innocent citizens and can quickly begin legal issues for someone who has not committed a crime. It allows law enforcement to legally steal from citizens who may have not committed any crimes. Welcome to the land of the free.