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As I See It

Police should not be able to seize your assets if you’ve done nothing wrong



It sounds like it should be illegal, but it isn’t. Laws allow police to seize property, including cash and cars, from people suspected of committing crimes. But as it turns out, they are seizing assets primarily from those who were never found guilty of any crime, and in many cases weren’t even charged with committing one. The numbers are staggering. In Minnesota last year, police agencies seized and kept more than $3 million in cash, cars and other property, all from people never convicted of criminal wrongdoing. Some agencies, like a drug task force in the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, saw only 6% of forfeitures came in cases where there was a conviction. Minnesota also profits from partnering with federal agencies. Last year, Minnesota law enforcement agencies received $1.9 million from joint federal investigations. But almost all of that came from investigations which never led to a conviction. Not all of this is wads of hundreds. In one case the Minnesota State Patrol seized $59. This system sounds ripe for abuse. People shouldn’t have to worry about losing their car or cash or their home if they haven’t broken any laws. This practice may not be illegal, but it certainly is not right, or fair.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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  1. Ronald Vickery

    October 26, 2023 at 8:35 am

    SUPREME court says its 8th amendment excessive fine and is illegal. But people don’t know how to fight the goverment. I could quote you two more Supreme Court decisions about it. But the cops would get me for it. The mn courts have went after me fir being too legally smart

    • Frances Thomas

      October 26, 2023 at 6:43 pm

      There has to be a way to get your info out there without them knowing . If enough people came out to tell their story it would help. I suggest going to a TV reporter, arepitable one. They won’t give you up and may be very willing to do a story on it since it’s come out to the public. I’d think the public would be outraged as I sm and call for a change to make it illegal. To me it’s theft from the ones your supposed to protect! That’s me, that’s where I would go.

  2. Jim

    October 26, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    IJ.org is doing great work in this area.

  3. Ashley Rayburn

    October 27, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    It’s wrong wrong wrong in every way ! Goes hand in hand with the lie that your presumed innocent,until proven guilty !
    That’s not true @ all ! When you are arrested with quote un quote ( probable cause ) which is 1 man’s word against an entire government led by corrupt men ( all sinners just like you & me )
    Deciding who & what is right & wrong it will never be fare or just ! I’ve been on the recipe ing end of the lie that you will get a fare trial & an appointed attorney that the other sinners that sit on the throne chose for you ! And believe me you are ” presumed guilty until proven innocent in they’re self governed organization of crimes against the people ! They heard hundreds of thousands of citizens ( sheep) thru they’re fortress walls everyday in this country & serve up whatever they want to keep the cash rolling in from these pitiful souls ! If you think they’re is justice in it your either blind or have your head stuck so far in the sand that they haven’t found you yet !! It is what it is but they are crossing the line by seizing any private property or real property from individuals prior to any one actually being convicted of a crime !!!

  4. Thomas Nelson

    October 30, 2023 at 11:51 pm

    The City of Minneapolis is far beyond “ripe for abuse” when it comes to the forfeiture seizure laws. Some years back, the gang strike task force was disbanded due to numerous instances where cars were seized and sold back to the cops that seized them later at auction. The people who lost these vehicles were not drug dealers dealers, or known criminals. These were regular hard-working citizens who just happened to be driving a vehicle that was desirable to these corrupt gang task force cops. And I will bet that every one of those cops that were involved in this organized theft ring still work for the Hennepin county sheriff’s/Minneapolis Police department to this day. Still being funded by Minnesota taxpayers with zero accountability.

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