Before the story airs: WRAL Investigates: Why can police just take your stuff?

Posted January 27, 2015
Updated January 29, 2015

It’s been part of policing for years. You commit a crime, officers can take assets related to the crime – money, a car, a house. The value of those assets transferred from benefiting criminals to helping out crime fighters. It became an important funding tool for law enforcement in the midst of tight budgets.

In recent years, though, there’s been a national trend to seize assets without any criminal charges. Local, state and federal officers confiscated tens of millions of dollars in raids. Whether a crime was eventually proven or not, the odds that those assets were ever returned proved slim. It reached the point where the U.S. Attorney General just changed national policy to limit seizures and potential law enforcement abuse of the system.

On Thursday, WRAL Investigates examines civil forfeiture in North Carolina. See cases where officers took cash and property without filing any charges. There’s a chorus of complaints and legal challenges. We dig into just how much law enforcement agencies get from seizures, what they buy and how the assets are shared between local, state and federal departments.

You decide if the seizures are justified. WRAL Investigates Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


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  • Scott Householder Jan 29, 2015
    user avatar

    Yep, even when it's paid for and it's yours free and clear, it is really still theirs - should it suit them to TAKE your STUFF.

  • Larry Lynch Jan 29, 2015
    user avatar

    the reason police can take your stuff is in fact because we are no longer free. also, law enforcement has undue broad based power, backed up by a self serving judicial system that for decades I have called for total reform from top to bottom. I support MANDATORY DRUG TESTING 3 TIMES A YR FOR ALL JUDGES, ALL DOJ PERSONELL AND ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT.

    you want some truth to back up my claims- no problem- one of the biggest threats to personal freedom in nc is the nc sheriffs asscioation- they are opposed to gun ownership --they are on record many times over-- for being against gun ownership an they support anti -gun laws here in nc.

  • Doug Hanthorn Jan 29, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    LOL! Really. Well bless your heart.

  • John Dough Jan 29, 2015
    user avatar

    I bet almost no one will question this investigation into police taking peoples stuff, compared to how defensive of the police people get when they are investigated for shooting folks of color.

  • Chris Chappell Jan 28, 2015
    user avatar

    because we are no longer free, same reason you never own your house or car. you still have to pay property taxes, which makes you a renter not an owner.