Cops Nationwide Stealing Cash, Jewelry, Valuables From Innocent Citizens Under ‘civil Forfeiture’ Laws J.D. Heyes Natural News August 29, 2013 If you’ve never heard of “civil forfeiture laws,” you’re about to get an eye-opening education. What’s more, you’re going to be disappointed that far too many local police departments – maybe even your own – are using these laws to rip off innocent citizens and help fund their own operations. In a recent lengthy piece for The New Yorker magazine, Sarah Stillman described in detail how these laws have been abused by police agencies all over the country to extort money and valuables from people whose only “crime” was traveling through their jurisdictions: The basic principle behind asset forfeiture is appealing. It enables authorities to confiscate cash or property obtained through illicit means, and, in many states, funnel the proceeds directly into the fight against crime. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, cops drive a Cadillac Escalade stencilled with the words “This Used To Be a Drug Dealer’s Car, Now It’s Ours!” In Monroe, North Carolina, police recently proposed using forty-four thousand dollars in confiscated drug money to buy a surveillance drone, which might be deployed to catch fleeing suspects, conduct rescue missions, and, perhaps, seize more drug money. Hundreds of state and federal laws authorize forfeiture for cockfighting, drag racing, basement gambling, endangered-fish poaching, securities fraud, and countless other misdeeds. In general, you needn’t be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on a par with “probable cause” is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime, or even be accused of one. Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture amounts to a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner’s guilt or innocence. Adds the American Civil Liberties Union: Every year, federal and state law enforcement agents seize millions of dollars from civilians during traffic stops, simply by asserting that they believe the money is connected to some illegal activity and without ever pursuing criminal charges. Under federal law and the laws of most states, they are entitled to keep most (and sometimes all) of the money and property they seize. So much for your constitutional protections Needless to say, a number of legal experts can see no intrinsic constitutional applications for such laws – and yet, they are used constantly by law enforcement agencies in a manner reminiscent of cops in third-world countries.
“The protections our Constitution usually affords are out the window,” Louis Rulli, a clinical law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading forfeiture expert, says. And why? Because property doesn’t have the same rights as a person. There is no right to an attorney and, in the majority of states, there is no “innocent until proven guilty.” You can tell that just by the title of the court cases: United States v. One Pearl Necklace and United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins. Cops have their victims at a distinct disadvantage in a number of ways. First, they have the guns and badges. Second, civil asset forfeiture doesn’t have to meet the standard of “probable cause” (it barely reached the level of “reasonable suspicion”). And third, they know that, oftentimes, hiring a lawyer and taking the department to court would far exceed the cost of the confiscated money and valuables. “Washington, D.C., charges up to twenty-five hundred dollars simply for the right to challenge a police seizure in court, which can take months or even years to resolve,” Silverman writes – and this is in a city overwhelmingly dominated by “fair-minded” liberals. In fact, Silverman explains, the D.C. system has impoverished hundreds of poor citizens caught in this civil forfeiture nightmare. Cops there will confiscate anything and everything – including the automobiles these people use to get back and forth to low-paying, menial labor jobs (another sad but true fact about “progressive” D.C.). It is so bad there, in fact, that the city’s Public Defender Service has filed suit on behalf of 375 car-owners, calling the city P.D.’s policy “devastating for hundreds of families who depend on their cars for many of the urgent and important tasks of daily life.” Signing off on theft made legal Astonishingly, many police departments defend this abomination. “We all know the way things are right now – budgets are tight,” Steve Westbrook, the executive director of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, told Silverman. “It’s definitely a valuable asset to law enforcement, for purchasing equipment and getting things you normally wouldn’t be able to get to fight crime,” he said. Other officers said, if the practice of civil forfeiture becomes too heavily regulated to use, their departments would collapse economically – and, of course, that would endanger public safety (can you say fearmongering). Per Silverman: But a system that proved successful at wringing profits from drug cartels and white-collar fraudsters has also given rise to corruption and violations of civil liberties. Over the past year, I spoke with more than a hundred police officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and forfeiture plaintiffs from across the country. Many expressed concern that state laws designed to go after high-flying crime lords are routinely targeting the workaday homes, cars, cash savings, and other belongings of innocent people who are never charged with a crime. This pathetic use of the law amounts to little more than legalized theft. If a private citizen were to do something like this, he or she would go to jail. Civil forfeiture in the case of a convicted criminal is one thing; stealing from innocent people to fund your police department is quite another. And quite despicable.
Fullerton, CA Police Dept. Murder Unarmed Homeless Man UPDATE Adan Salazar Infowars.com May 8, 2012 PLEASE SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF PAGE Almost a year after the brutal beating of Kelly Thomas by the police of Fullerton, CA, the officers that coaxed the fray are finally having their preliminary hearing date. Kelly Thomas was the 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic man that was first verbally abused, then tackled by officer Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, and then later subdued by taser by four other police officers. Thomas suffered a coma for five days after the altercation and then passed away when taken off life support. Now comes new damning testimony in the case by the most unlikely of key witnesses – prosecution exhibit #4, big brother. (Chalk one up for the surveillance grid—it finally caught an actual crime taking place!) It seems that while officers Ramos and Cicinelli were busy riding their power trips, an all-seeing eye was recording the entire confrontation as it unfolded. The grainy street-cam video was presented to the court Monday, and according to the footage it took a total of six officers to subdue the non-violent, unarmed offender. Fullerton, CA Police Dept. Murder Unarmed Homeless Man VIDEO BELOW http://www.ocregister.com/news/orange-352641-county-rackauckas.html The video begins with officers forcing an unlawful backpack search, a familiar tactic that is becoming a normality. Officer Ramos presents his request with the guise of wanting to get on with his day: “We just gotta figure out your name so we can get outta here and go about our business, that’s all.” Three minutes into the video, it’s evident Ramos was just looking for an excuse to start a fight. Officer Ramos can be heard muttering obscenities to Thomas while putting on latex gloves: “Now, you see my fists? … They’re getting ready to f— you up … If you don’t start f—— listening.” The officers lay in on Thomas with billy clubs and dog pile on him while kneeing at his ribs. Thomas’ screams and cries for help go unheeded as even more officers arrive and begin tasering. Near the end of the video a pool of Thomas’ blood can be seen, the bright lights from the ambulance reflecting off the puddle. Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos, left, and Police Corporal Jay Cicinelli.
If convicted of 2nd degree murder Officer Ramos faces a maximum of 15 years to life; if he’s
convicted of a lesser crime like involuntary manslaughter, the sentence will be reduced to a maximum of 4 years. Cicinelli faces 4 years if convicted. Both Ramos and Cicinelli have pled not guilty. Ramos’ attorney, John Barnett, states, “There is insufficient evidence to prove the charges against my client…There is no theory of facts upon which a murder charge be sustained.” With the help of this key video evidence, officer Ramos, a 10-year veteran, and Cicinelli, a former Marine, will hopefully be made examples of and justice should hopefully prevail. The story is being monitored and updated by Larry Welborn and Lou Ponsi of the Orange County Register. It’s vital that we call attention to this story. There’s a startlingly increasing trend in police abusing their powers; it’s seeped deep to local, county, and state levels. While the officers are not directly operatives of the NWO, they serve as unwitting accomplices, paving the way for public indoctrination into a dominating police state where orders are to be followed or else. It is imperative that police around the world be held accountable for their actions whenever possible. If the Orange County District Attorney can convict Ramos and Cicinelli, it will be a milestone for justice against our oppressors. Although it will not bring Kelly Thomas back or take back the things that were done to him, at the very least it will serve as a warning to police who abuse their authority. Big bro’s watching you too! Watch Alex and Darrin’s exposè on the rise of the police state. One oaf of an officer tells a protester blowing bubbles that if one bubble touches him, the protester will be handcuffed and charged with assault. This is truly an epidemic of degenerate proportions. Police Brutality Epidemic: Darrin McBreen Investigates VIDEO BELOW http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aNbsEAJy1ok UPDATE 5/8/12 3pm: According to the L.A. Times Ramos’ lawyer is claiming it was the medics at St. Jude Medical Center that treated Thomas that were ultimately responsible for his death. However Dr. Michael Lekawa, chief trauma surgeon at UCI (where Thomas was later transferred), under questioning from Barnett, stated St. Jude’s “did everything right.” He acknowledged that doctors at St. Jude had informed him about the difficulty of inserting a breathing tube into Thomas’ mouth necessary to deter low levels of oxygen in the blood. Although he testified prior to viewing the video, after seeing it Lekawa could see why, under the weight of the officers on top of him, Thomas’ brain was starving for oxygen. SOURCE http://www.infowars.com/fulerton-ca-police-dept-to-do-list-murder-unarmedhomeless-man-check/
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If you’ve never heard of “civil forfeiture laws,” you’re about to get an eye-opening education. What’s more, you’re going to be disappointed...