Law Enforcement Overstepping Bounds

Government servants are stealing from innocent people, again.

The fact that it is legal to seize people’s belongings before they are convicted, or, even before a case has been built against them or charges brought, is egregious  indeed.  In Tennessee, lawmakers want to reduce police agencies’ ability to seize cash and vehicles without actual criminal convictions. Those in law enforcement are up in arms about this move to protect the rights of the people.

From The Times Free Press

A 2010 state Comptroller audit led to the indictment of a West Tennessee drug task force director and his assistant on theft charges.

Bell said during Monday’s hearing the current law “subjects some of our citizens to forfeiture when they did absolutely nothing wrong.”

The legislature is moving that this type of seizure be curbed for the protection of the people and to uphold the standard of “innocent until proven guilty.”

The Times Free Press included this quote from the Knoxville Police Chief which is telling of law enforcement’s attitude:

“It seems that many in our country are jumping on knee-jerk reactionary bandwagons that are the result of isolated incidents that may get misrepresented,” Rausch said.

Removing this ability to “impact crime in our state because of a few bad apples would be a travesty,” he said. “It would make Tennessee a haven for criminal gangs and a hub for criminal enterprise.”

He really doesn’t seem to comprehend the problem this practice presents for citizens.

More of the story from The Times Free Press:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, wanted to know why money from those seizures doesn’t revert to a local government’s general fund just as money does when the Tennessee Attorney General’s office wins a multimillion settlement with, say, a pharmaceutical manufacturer dinged for illegal practices.

Shelby County prosecutor Jones rejected that, scoffing that it would subject police agencies, which are a part of government, to what he called “governmental red tape.”

Kelsey wasn’t impressed.

“You would call it that,” the chairman told Jones. “But we would call it the legislative process.”

Greed is motivating the police, and the basic sin of selfishness is at the core of this rush to take what belongs to others.  But why should this surprise us when we consider the example set for them by the IRS?