Many states have passed laws limiting how much of your stuff the police can steal when they accuse you of a crime, but the Department of Justice has the solution for local cops: they will "adopt" a local seizure, making it federal and exempting it from state-level corruption controls.
The DOJ's "Equitable Sharing" program then splits the loot with the cops, making it a win-win for everyone except the poor fucks who are being ripped off by the agencies whose paychecks they subsidize. Muckrock's used the Freedom of Information Act to pry loose the DOJ's Equitable Sharing guidelines from 2009-2013 for 15 of the 20 most populous cities in America.
When the DOJ helps local cops rob the public, it requires that the cops spend their share of the loot on anti-drug and law-enforcement stuff. In the case of El Paso, that included "$5,199.80 on promotional supplies and $2,515 on polo shirts for the El Paso Police Foundation in 2012."
But the DOJ's Equitable Sharing program allows some local agencies a way around restrictive state laws.
Unless their state specifically prohibits it, agencies enrolled in the equitable sharing program can petition a DOJ agency to "adopt" their seizure.
In an adoptive seizure, if the local agency has seized the property without any help from the feds, they get to keep 80 percent of the profits while the DOJ takes the rest.
Proceeds from joint seizures, in which DOJ agencies cooperate with their local counterparts in the investigation, are split based on how much effort each agency contributed.
With Equitable Sharing, forfeiture restrictions are lifted so long as the DOJ gets a cut
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