Gangs and criminals are no longer the biggest worry for innocent travelers. It’s the #cops.
During research for Backlash, Book 4, Special Crimes Team series I needed to find out under what conditions police could confiscate money from people. I discovered a series of investigative articles published September 2014 by The #WashingtonPost. Scary stuff!
In an effort to kept the integrity of the articles I will only quote small sections from them and provide links to the full articles.
Published on September 6, 2014
After the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government called on police to become the eyes and ears of homeland security on America’s highways.
Local officers, county deputies and state troopers were encouraged to act more aggressively in searching for suspicious people, drugs and other contraband. The departments of Homeland Security and Justice spent millions on police training.
The effort succeeded, but it had an impact that has been largely hidden from public view: the spread of an aggressive brand of policing that has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes, a Washington Post investigation found. Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back.
Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of “highway interdiction” to departments across the country.”
(Aya) According to the investigation by the Washington Post, a private firm is currently running an intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking and Notification System. They are gathering data on Americans even though state and federal authorities have warned them that their actions could constitute violation of privacy and constitutional protections.
Stealing from motorists is such a good gig that some police are using it to raise funds. There are also chat rooms where police compare how much money they have stolen from motorists.
Two unfortunate motorists are Mandrel Stuart, a restaurant owner, who had $17,550 confiscated without ever being charged with a crime; and, Matt Lee, a 31-year-old college graduate in Michigan who had $2400 his father gave him to help him travel to California for a job interview confiscated by police.
You can read Mandrel Stuart’s and Matt Lee’s stories printed by The Washington Post on September 8, 2014 and written by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Michael Sallah at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/08/they-fought-the-law-who-won/
You can read how this literal highway robbery got started in an article written by Michael Sallah, Robert O’Harrow Sr. and Steven Rich on September 6, 2014 and printed in The Washington Post at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/06/stop-and-seize/
This is an overview of the subjects of this series of articles published by The Washington Post:
Stop and Seize: In recent years, thousands of people have had cash confiscated by police without being charged with crimes. The Post looks at the police culture behind the seizures and the people who were forced to fight the government to get their money back.
Part 1: After Sept. 11, 2001, a cottage industry of private police trainers emerged to teach aggressive techniques of highway interdiction to thousands of local and state police.
Part 2: One training firm started a private intelligence-sharing network and helped shape law enforcement nationwide.
Part 4: Police agencies nationwide routinely buy vehicles and weapons with money and property seized under federal civil forfeiture law from people who were not charged with a crime.
Part 5: Highway seizure in Iowa fuels debate about asset-forfeiture laws.
Part 6: D.C. police plan for future seizure proceeds years in advance in city budget documents.
Chat transcript: The reporters behind “Stop and Seize” answered readers’ questions about the investigative series.
(Aya) If you thought this blog was interesting, don’t miss future ones. ENTER YOUR EMAIL AND FOLLOW!
If you would like to receive a monthly newsletter full of special offers, inspirational quotes, short stories and other great content, JUST FOR YOU, be sure to subscribe at the top right side of this blog. Just put in your email and be sure to confirm when you receive the confirmation link and a free gift. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Be aware that if you want to follow my blog and receive the newsletter, you will have to enter your email in both spots.
Be sure to drop by on facebook and chat! http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar I post some awesome content on my facebook page!
LIKE my facebook author’s page and hear about upcoming books! http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor
Backlash, Book 4, Special Crimes Team is due out Spring, 2015!