Thread. Have you ever heard of "civil asset forfeiture"? You're never going to think about the police the same way again. (1)
A few years ago, when I was at the public defender's office, my very poor clients kept telling me the same story: they would be walking down the street and DC police would stop them, search them at gunpoint, tell them to open their wallets, and take all the cash they had. (2)
The wildest part? The DC police would then send them a letter saying that, if they wanted to challenge the police taking of their cash, they would need to pay either $250 or 10% of the amount taken, whichever was more! (3)
So, if police took $10 or $20 from someone, the person would need to pay $250 to even have the right to challenge the cops in court. If you couldn't pay, the cops kept your money. (4)
If you challenged them in court, you'd have to prove that your property was *not* somehow connected to a crime. Think about how hard that is. (5)
If you still wanted to challenge the DC police, they'd send a lawyer to litigate an entire civil asset forfeiture case against you, and you aren't entitled to a lawyer if you're poor because the cops call it a civil case not a criminal case. You have to fight them alone. (6)
Sure enough, when I examined the DC records, the cops had taken cash from thousands of people, almost entirely Black people. They'd also taken hundreds of cars from people, mostly older women of color. I couldn't find a single example of a person successfully challenging it. (7)
A lot of the time, cops were taking $5 and $30 from extremely poor people who were struggling to meet the basic necessities of life for their children, like buying food and diapers and shoes. (7)
In most places, there is no need for the cops to arrest you with civil forfeiture. There's no need for a conviction. They can just allege that your property is connected to a crime and take it. Then they can keep most of it for fancy weapons and corrupt travel junkets. (8)
To understand the scope of this problem, you should know that cops take more money from people in civil asset forfeiture than all burglaries combined in the U.S. (9) washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2…
The cops at the local, state, and federal levels across the country have taken almost $70 billion in civil forfeiture in the past 20 years! (10) ij.org/press-release/…
When cops ask you for more funding, remember that only 4% of all cop time is spent on what they call "violent crime." Next time they ask for money, remember the kafkaesque abuses at every U.S. police department and ask if cops actually care about safety for everyone. (end)
By the way, here's a great piece from @NewYorker that tells some of the stories of our clients in D.C. newyorker.com/magazine/2013/…

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More from @equalityAlec

2 Aug
THREAD. Following similar efforts around the country, NYC police have launched yet another shameful and violent offensive: removing people from where they live to "clean" the city for wealthy business interests. A few thoughts: nytimes.com/2021/08/02/nyr…
First, take a look at the language bureaucrats use to describe what NYC cops are doing to people who are living on the streets: the violent cops are called "cleanup crews" for "service-resistant individuals."
Second, cops with guns are forcibly moving people (with no regard to the destruction of their most valuable and sentimental possessions) to group barracks in the middle a resurgent delta variant coronavirus and against CDC recommendations.
Read 5 tweets
30 Jul
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Texas: Governor is illegally kidnapping human beings, separating families, demanding cash for their release, and setting up unconstitutional concentration camps for immigrants who can't pay. Biden is doing nothing. texastribune.org/2021/07/30/tex…
This is a good example of our culture's desensitization to the most profound injustices of the authoritarian punishment bureaucracy. To do this, Governor needs thousands of officers, prosecutors, retired judges, jail guards, aides, bureaucrats, etc... Everyone goes along.
When the history of this period is written by those who are organizing against it, all of the people who created the greatest human caging bureaucracy in modern history and used it to cage the poor, people of color, immigrants, and other vulnerable people will be held accountable
Read 4 tweets
16 Jul
A few thoughts on Boston police: Boston cops, after getting a record city budget in 2019, devised "operation clean sweep" in which a squad of cops had the goal of destroying the wheelchairs of homeless people with disabilities living on the street. boston.com/news/local-new…
Virtually the entire police bureaucracy in Boston hid the fact that the union president had been accused of child molestation, promoted him, and had him working on child sex cases. He was then accused of attacking five more kids. bostonglobe.com/2021/04/10/met…
The Boston police convince the City to lavish them with extra overtime cash every year--the overtime budget alone in Boston is 240 times the budget for the City's "Human Rights Commission." data.aclum.org/2020/06/05/unp…
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul
I've been thinking these last few weeks about how, the very next day after white cops beat John Lewis and hundreds of civil rights marchers on the Pettus Bridge in Selma, the President of the U.S. announced an unprecedented expansion in funding for U.S. police departments.
That expansion was predicated on the need to spend money on police "training" and the assertion that poor people and Black people were engaging in a wave of crime. Sound familiar? presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/spec…
Everyone paying attention knew exactly what and who the President meant by "crime" and "criminals." When powerful people talk about "crime" they are only talking about some of the harm that some people commit in some places some of the time. yalelawjournal.org/forum/the-puni…
Read 5 tweets
12 Jul
a strange thing is happening. the pro-police media, having *no evidence* that the greatest expenditures on cops and cages in modern world history leads to any semblance of safety, are now weaponizing a new argument: poor people and Black people supposedly *want* more police (1)
according to this hysteria, it's "elitist" to suggest that we shift resources from cops, prosecutors, and prisons to things like housing, treatment, medical care, violence interruption mutual aid, etc... these people are shameful. (2)
most of these media people have never worked in or with the communities most harmed by the carceral state. the polls they are citing are both highly manipulated and completely dependent on how the question is phrased. and it's all in the context of the media's own copaganda war.
Read 4 tweets
12 Jul
I don't think even Greenwald understands what he's saying anymore. What is the point of this? The biggest cop bureaucracy in world history needs more weapons and surveillance tech? Amazing he doesn't see the link between U.S. cops and cops who killed his friend Marielle Franco.
You can always find a few people willing to support forces of oppression. In fact, many in the media (like you) are contributing to the propaganda that causes this, and to the fact that jobs in the carceral bureaucracy are a huge source of economic wealth for many communities.
Greenwald explicitly treats calls for U.S. military invasion by small numbers of marginalized people in other countries very differently. In that context, he gets that there are complex economic and propagandistic forces at work--but on U.S. policing, he buries his head in sand.
Read 4 tweets

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