The Department of Justice announced this week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers.
The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize — even if the people they took from are never charged with a crime.
That’s not so much policing as legalized robbery. Ironically, what killed it wasn’t concern for civil liberties or corruption, but a lack of budget for the feds to share it with the states.
While this story comes from the USA, we’re headed down the same route up North.