“Common People Do Not Carry This Much U.S. Currency…” – This is How Police Justify Stealing American Citizens’ Money

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.05.00 AMPolice confiscating Americans’ hard earned cash, as well as a wide variety of other valuables, without an arrest or conviction is a disturbing and growing practice throughput these United States. Since cops get to keep the seized funds and use the money on pretty much anything they want, the practice is becoming endemic in certain parts of the nation. The theft is often referred to simply as civil forfeiture, or civil asset forfeiture. Incredibly, under civil forfeiture laws your property is “guilty until you prove it innocent.”

The extent of the problem came to my attention last summer after reading an excellent article by Sarah Stillman in the New Yorker. The article struck such a chord with me, I penned a post highlighting it and addressing the issue, titled: Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas. That article ended up being one of my most popular posts of 2013.

Fast forward a year, and many mainstream publications have also jumped on the topic. Most notably, the Washington Post published an excellent article last month titled, Stop and Seize, which I strongly suggest reading if you haven’t already.

Fortunately for us all, the issue has also caught the eye of the always hilarious, John Oliver of Last Week Tonight. The following clip from his show is brilliant. Not only is it hilarious, but it will hopefully educate a wider audience about this insidious practice so that it can be stopped once and for all.

As one officer admitted in an affidavit justifying his confiscation of an innocent driver’s cash:

“Common people do not carry this much U.S. currency.”


In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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  1. I stopped watching TV long ago. I find it a wee bit disturbing that so many find this funny. Apparently, our government is so broke, that they have taken to openly stealing from the citizenry.This is wrong on so many levels.Don’t these cops have any morality whatsoever? It appears as if evil has run amok. There is a chance that feeding canned laughter into these parodies, actually desensitizes the viewer from a normal, natural outrage regarding the disturbing truth. That is why I no longer watch such shows as John Stewart. Will any of the members of the audience take action? I thank you for your work in getting this important awareness into the mainstream though. How low will our country go before things shift for the better?

    • Television and media are tools of control. Get rid of all the TVs. Don’t watch ANYTHING. That would be a “game” changer.

    • There is a chance that feeding canned laughter into these parodies, actually desensitizes the viewer from a normal, natural outrage regarding the disturbing truth.

      So very well said. So many dirty tricks – from fractional reserve banking, to warrentless survellience, to civil asset forfeiture – have become “normalized.” They are joked about, railed against by the few, and then become standard operating procedure. Finally, they become understood as a necessary evil. Where is the massive outrage these issues so richly deserve?

  2. Some places once had laws allowing the summary execution of highwaymen. I’d imagine in some of those places, the laws are still on the books.

  3. Did anyone notice just how fat American pigs are getting? By making people laugh about such matters is like Cabaret taking the piss out of the Nazis prior to the advent of a total Police State, which seems to be the PS on any nation’s history before it is about to collapse in on itself…

  4. This equals to the so-called ‘Everybody knows that (insert topic here)..’ redundantly used in Europe by our politicians to steal our money…and liberty..

  5. Punishing folk for having or using cash will help condition people to a cashless model – how dare you use cash!

  6. In year 2000, the people of Utah had the good sense to see this trouble coming and passed a ballot initiative that did two things.

    1. It required the state to prove a crime and that the property had a connection to the crime. If this could not be done, the property reverted to the owner within a set period of time.

    2. If the property was seized, the proceeds went to the state school fund instead of to the the police.

    Too bad law enforcement in Utah was already hooked on the easy money. It has been a decade long struggle against the state leaders to try and retain in law the clear will of the people.



  7. I think this is piracy and when civil servants are operating just for revenue enhancement their immunity is an illusion! I think a margarita maker is revenue enhancement!

  8. There is no legitimate basis for what has been called “civil forfeiture” whatsoever. I have on some rare occasions carried huge amounts of cash to go buy a vehicle from a private owner because access to credit is way too restricted for me. I’ve never been authorized to use credit to buy a car or for any other purpose so the only way I can have a car is use cash and buy from a private owner. Dealers and sources of credit refuse to do business with me. ANYONE who tries to take ANYTHING from me will face serious resistance and it will not end well for them. I don’t care who it is.

  9. What law-making genius came up with this?? When the cops become just another gang, running highway robbery, car hijackings and protection rackets, what do you reckon are the likely consequences? As an argument in favour of gun-toting popular vigilantism, the police forces in the US could not have expressed it more clearly and forcefully.

    Perhaps they ought, from the top commissioner down to the cop on the beat, to be forced by way of a cautionary tale, to watch that classic Harvey Keitel movie; ‘Bad Lieutenant.’ Especially the ending.

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