The Washington Post has just finished running an excellent 3 part series on the rise over the past decade of police targetting cash seizures on our nations highways…and the privately run intellignence networks that aid them. And the many, often minority innocent americans who have been caught up in this heavy handed tactic.
Let’s face it. Millions of Americans, for one reason or another, either don’t have a bank account, or for one reason or another choose not to entrust their money to a bank. Many of us prefer to live in a cash based society. In the past decade I have personally known two people who had large sums of 100% legal money seized by police during traffic stops. One, a construction company owner who had something like $37,000 in cash. He was on his way to look at and possibly buy a piece of heavy equipment. The seond was a hispanic construction crew leader who was on his way to look at a 7+ year old full size diesel truck to potentially buy. (Both did eventualy get their money back- after more then a year and thousands in legal costs. Not to mention the frustration, humiliation, and the loss of both the money- and what it was intended for.
And, I have also known numerous people in the world of medical marijuana who lost substantial sums of cash. Virtually none of whom ever got it returned. People who, although operating completely within their states laws, were forced into a cash only world by federal prohibition on them being able to have bank accounts.
Anyway- I highly recommend reading the series. And taking some time to think about what you are actually reading. That simply dealing in cash rather then pieces of paper or plastic from a bank can make you a criminal. The intimidation of innocent people- and all too often, people who are already marginalized by society. The arrogance and contempt of police- their greed, their indifference, their violation of eveything they are supposed to stand for.
Personally, I hope the writers of this series when a Pulitzer.