Government Can Take Your Money Without Criminal Charges

Government Can Take Your Money Without Criminal Charges

Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian (The Point), and Ben Mankiewicz (What The Flick?) hosts of The Young Turks discuss how a man not charged or suspected of any crime can have $16,000 of his own money confiscated by DEA officials, who refuse to return it to him.

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“Maybe he should have taken traveler’s checks.

But it’s too late for that now. All the money – $16,000 in cash – that Joseph Rivers said he had saved and relatives had given him to launch his dream in Hollywood is gone, seized during his trip out West not by thieves but by Drug Enforcement Administration agents during a stop at the Amtrak train station in Albuquerque.

An incident some might argue is still theft, just with the government’s blessing.

Rivers, 22, wasn’t detained and has not been charged with any crime since his money was taken last month.

That doesn’t matter. Under a federal law enforcement tool called civil asset forfeiture, he need never be arrested or convicted of a crime for the government to take away his cash, cars or property – and keep it.

Agencies like the DEA can confiscate money or property if they have a hunch, a suspicion, a notion that maybe, possibly, perhaps the items are connected with narcotics. Or something else illegal.

Or maybe the fact that the person holding a bunch of cash is a young black man is good enough.”

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