Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police can take people’s money and property without even making an arrest. They just have to suspect the assets are tied in some way to illicit activity and, in many cases, they can keep the profits without an indictment, much less a conviction.
Some states are working to stop this type of abuse. But thanks to a statutory loophole called “equitable sharing,” state police can still take people’s money and property under federal law and pocket up to 80 percent of the proceeds.
The latest video from Prison Profiteers, The Nation’s partnership with the ACLU and Beyond Bars, sheds light on the astonishing abuse of civil asset forfeiture and the organizations that have fought hard to prevent much needed changes.
Sarah Solon of the ACLU and Jesse Lava of Beyond Bars describe how civil asset forfeiture has lead to people losing cash, cars and even their homes. In an award-winning and shocking investigative report in The New Yorker last year, Sarah Stillman became the first journalist to expose the use and abuse of civil forfeiture laws.