Commentary by JOHN KIRIAKOU
This will set your blood aboiling.
People who have never even been charged with a crime can have their life savings taken away. That’s civil asset forfeiture.
I am a fan of bad television. I admit it. I even DVR it. I watch an awful show on the National Geographic Channel every week about Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and how they intercept drugs and birds and food and other contraband from people arriving from abroad into the airports of New York, Atlanta and Miami.
I was watching an episode this week where an elderly Korean man arrived at JFK airport in New York with a few hundred dollars in his pocket.
For no apparent reason, he was pulled into secondary for a more comprehensive search. When the CBP officer went through the man’s wallet, he found four cashier’s checks, dated years earlier, that totaled $136,000. The man said that it was his life savings, he had been carrying it around for years, and that he had forgotten that the checks were on him.
Tough luck, CBP said. The money belongs to the government now. That’s civil asset forfeiture.
The man was never charged with a crime. But he still loses his life savings. That’s the way we do things in the United States.
Harvey Miller is known in the music industry as “DJ Speedy.” He’s a serious player in the music world, having worked with Beyonce, Jay-Z and other top pop stars. He is a wealthy and successful entrepreneur and entertainer. He also happens to be African-American.
Miller was driving recently from his home in Atlanta to his second home in Los Angeles. A sheriff’s deputy pulled him over in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, for “not using his turn signal a full 100 feet before changing lanes.”
The deputy asked Miller what he was doing in Oklahoma. Miller said that he was a professional musician and he was on his way to his home in California. The deputy said that the story sounded “suspicious” and he asked if he could search the car.
Miller, who had no criminal record, refused. “No, you can’t search my vehicle,” he said. “What warrants you to search my vehicle?”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal