Thursday, September 10, 2015

Policing for profit

One of the less noted by-products of the country's misbegotten "War on Drugs" and post 9/11 security hysteria is that police departments are free to seize property from people not even charged with a crime. And they can keep it to fund their toys, as boasted above.

The Washington Post ran a significant expose last year. Private "police training" companies have thrived on teaching the game of asset seizure to cops.

One of those firms created a private intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System that enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists — criminals and the innocent alike — including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop.

Many of the reports have been funneled to federal agencies and fusion centers as part of the government’s burgeoning law enforcement intelligence systems — despite warnings from state and federal authorities that the information could violate privacy and constitutional protections.

A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing “trophy shots” of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities.

If we didn't know before, we know since the Justice Department report on Ferguson which motorists and communities are most at risk from these piratical practices.

The Drug Policy Alliance is running a campaign against asset-seizure policing.

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