Thursday, 12 March 2015

The police and drug money

In America the Chicgo police have a 'facility' into which prisoners, drugs and drug money disappear.

Citizens are being arrested for possession of modest amounts of cannabis and are being held at a 'black site' known as Homan Square. Their detention which can last for days -and has been known to last for weeks - is unrecorded in any arrest record.  At Homan Square they do not exist.

However, when they are eventually released, without charge, any cannabis and any money in their possession has disappeared.

Stephanie Freeman was detained by the police for 12 hours, her cannabis was confiscated, $700 dollars was taken from her but she was never charged with a crime and there is no record of her detention.

A 2010 federal court ruling found that Chicago “does not adequately inform arrestees of the procedures to retrieve their money and thus does not comport with due process.” More recently, a Washington Post investigation found that Chicago police seized money some 638 times since 9/11, and supporting federal agencies permitted them to keep almost $8 million of it. Outgoing US attorney general Eric Holder recently called for “a comprehensive review” of civil forfeiture.

“Police grab cash and it’s really a backward process,” said Chicago attorney Jonathan Brayman.

“They grab it and you have to go to court to show where it came from, that it came from a legitimate source. Even though the burden is formally on the state, it substantively kind of shifts the burden to the claimant.”

At least politicians and senior law officers are expressing concern with the process.  In the UK all State employees dodge the questions.


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