Missouri Cops Use Loophole to Steal Millions From Drivers
Article from Reason by Zuri Davis.
A new report uncovers a shocking civil asset forfeiture practice that allowed Missouri police to seize at least $2.6 million during traffic stops in a single year.
As part of a larger series on national asset forfeiture cases organized by the Pulitzer Center, St. Louis Public Radio reported that St. Charles County law enforcement coerced at least 39 unsuspecting motorists into signing over their assets in 2018.
According to the report, officers would lie in wait for a car committing a minor traffic violation. Upon seeing the minor violation, officers would then pull the car over, question the motorist, and then direct them to a private towing lot owned by Superior Towing. While in the lot, officers would ask more questions and search the vehicle, all in the hopes of finding large amounts of cash or connections to drugs.
If a trained police dog smelled marijuana on the cash, officers then gave the motorists two options: they could go to jail, or sign their possessions away to the department and leave with a traffic ticket.
None of the 39 documented motorists were charged.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons