The DC force plans out how much stuff they'll steal from the public through the corrupt "asset forfeiture" program years in advance, almost as though they don't rely on crime to seize assets, but rather just arbitrarily grab stuff from people and sell it to pay their bills.
The council's reform effort began last year after the Public Defender Service for the District filed a class action lawsuit against the city, alleging that police violated the constitutional rights of residents in the process of seizing their cars. Among other things, the Public Defender Service focused on a city requirement that vehicle owners post bonds of up to $2,500 before they were permitted to challenge seizures.
In August 2013, all parties agreed to put the lawsuit on hold as the District worked to modify its forfeiture laws.
Wells said the proposed bill would create a fairer system under District law by scaling back the bond requirement, creating a clearer appeals process and imposing a requirement for notifying property owners within 10 business days of a seizure.
But the bill has been opposed by law enforcement officials, partly for the same reason other reform efforts across the country have been stymied: money. The officials also said it would create an administrative burden. In addition to tightening oversight and the rules for civil seizures, the District proposal would cut back on revenue.
D.C. police plan for future seizure proceeds years in advance in city budget documents [Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Steven Rich/Washington Post]
(Image: 122a.Dismantle.OccupyDC.McPhersonSquare.WDC.4February2012, Elvert Barnes, CC-BY-SA)