Asset Forfeiture

Town Where U.S. Marshal Smashed Citizen's Camera Rakes in Millions from Federal Forfeiture Rules

South Gate seizes more under federal program than San Francisco.

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But has he been trained NOT to grab and destroy other people's property?
YouTube

Brian Doherty took note yesterday of an incident, caught on citizen video, of a U.S. marshal in South Gate, California, smashing the cell phone camera of another citizen who had been filming some police activity in her neighborhood.

Wondering why a U.S. marshal was part of this police sweep in the first place? Neighbors told ABC 7 there was a police sweep targeting members of the Mongol bike gang in South Gate. The U.S. Marshals recently spent six weeks working with law enforcement agencies across the country to track down arrest scores of wanted fugitives. That project ended early in April, but marshals regularly partner with police in anti-gang activities.

Still, there's more. Partnering with federal law enforcement allows South Gate's police to turn to the Department of Justice's Equitable Sharing Program for assistance in seizing and keeping assets from these raids. And South Gate does so—a lot.

A new report put out by the Drug Policy Alliance earlier this week highlighted a handful of small municipalities in Southern California who draw in asset forfeiture dollars seemingly far out of proportion to their size. South Gate is one of those cities. South Gate, situated just south of Los Angeles, has a population of less than 100,000 people, but has collected more than $7.6 million in revenue using the federal Equitable Sharing Fund between 2006 and 2013. They're ranked sixth in the state in per capita forfeiture revenue. They've received more seized funds through the federal forfeiture system during that timeframe than San Francisco (population: 800,000).

When report author Jonah Engle contacted South Gate about this trend, a senior member of the police department told him they've "always had an emphasis on drug enforcement; there is so much drugs here" and that they "dedicate an unusual amount of people to narcotics enforcement."

Well, sort of. South Gate's police force has been cut from 144 to 117 between 2009 and 2012. But South Gate increased the number of personnel devoted to asset seizure efforts by two. South Gate also, according to Engle's report, anticipates future forfeiture revenue in the budgeting process, which Department of Justice rules forbid. No wonder there's an "unusual amount" of people attached to this process—they need to make all these busts in order for the budget to add up.

And it also explains why they would need to turn to the feds instead of using California's asset forfeiture system. California only allows local law enforcement agencies to keep 65 percent of what they seize. The federal sharing program lets agencies keep 80 percent.

It's also worth noting, separately, how the U.S. marshal's effort to censor a citizen's recording was foiled by yet another citizen recording. Citizen countersurveillance of police activity is increasing and law enforcement needs to get used to it.

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99 responses to “Town Where U.S. Marshal Smashed Citizen's Camera Rakes in Millions from Federal Forfeiture Rules

  1. Being rational and not at all dogmatic or hyperbolic, what percentage of current government in the U.S.–at any level–is legitimate versus a scam/criminal enterprise? I figure it’s got to be in the 1/3 range, and I’m being very generous.

    1. I’d figure 1/4th to 1/3rd.

    2. If you start with the premise that the only legitimate functions of government are repelling invasion, providing courts to resolve disputes, and enforcing criminal law that is limited in scope to crimes against the life, liberty or property of others, then I’d say 90% of government is illegitimate.

      1. Like I said, I’m being very generous.

    3. What is the percent that covers ROADZ? That’s about the only government service I use.

      1. I remember paying tolls in Orlando.

        1. Florida. I remember going over Brook Bridge and having to pay a loathsome troll once.

        2. Unfortunately all the roads aren’t private. They are redoing I-4 and putting in a speed toll lane. So the next 10-20 years traveling here is going to suck.

          1. I’ve never been in I-4 when there wasn’t at least one multi-car accident.

            After a few times, I decided to take I-10 to I-75. Then my parents were smart enough to move to Western NC.

            1. I’m sure the massive construction project will improve everything, including accidents. I mean, when hasn’t a large government project led to great outcomes?

      2. ONLY ROADS?!?! What about all that sweet air the government allows you to breath. If you don’t want taxes, you don’t want to breath. Fact

        1. Fine.
          *holds breath*

          1. You’re turnin blue man! Let it out!

            1. *gasp desperately for breath*

              You win this round government.

              *shakes fist*

    4. what percentage of current government in the U.S.–at any level–is legitimate

      If by legitimate you mean constitutional (and I know some here don’t) then any part that is covered by Article 1 Section 8. Other than that, no.

      1. Speaking of which, I have yet to have a progressive answer my question of what Article I, ? 8 is there for. Typically, they just call names.

        1. It’s there to perpetuate slavery, duh.

          1. How silly of me to forget.

    5. If you ask instead how much of government would survive in a free market — how much of government would people be willing to pay for at the current grossly-exaggerated prices, I’d say about 99% is criminal. If you let prices fall to free market rates, with real competition, I’d say maybe 10% would survive.

      Local, state, and federal governments spend $8T a year. That’s roughly $60K per year per family. I bet if you were to ask the average person how much their family spends on government services, or ask them how much they think government services are worth, most people would say one tenth that value.

      1. I suppose the breakdown should be legitimate government functions, scams, and criminal enterprises.

      2. But you’re paying all that protection money so poor people don’t rob you.

        1. I put the value in negative numbers. I’d pay higher taxes to get the government to stop doing most of what it’s doing.

    6. Define legitimate. Seeing as basically every part of the government is funded through stealing people’s money by force, that would be, oh, about 100%, if you, like me, consider funding through stealing to be illegitimate.

      1. I will accept this answer as also correct. Truth is, even if we all voluntarily sent money to the government, the politics of it all would still enscamify the process.

        1. Are you trying to cromulate that word?

          1. You know how Eskimos supposedly have thirty words for snow? Well, our government really has thirty words for scam.

            1. You know how Eskimos supposedly have thirty words for snow?.

              Really?? There are actually more than that. And there are numerous terms for ice as well. But English has numerous ones as well, so I don’t get why people say that.

              /irritation off

              1. I thought that was a myth altogether.

                1. The snow meme is a myt, but not the government scam, thassafakmac.

                2. I thought that was a myth altogether.

                  We live in a land that is snow covered (apiraq) and ice covered (siku-)* for most of the year. So between snow and ice there are probably over 120 different terms. What I was getting at was English also has multiple terms for snow and ice, it isn’t just the Eskimo language. It’s as if people are stunned that we have different terms but don’t stop to think that they do too. It is absolutely strange to me.

                  *stem, depending on what kind of ice as to what follows
                  sikuliuraq – newly formed ice

                  1. Oh, cool. You mean you actually know, versus looking it up on Wikipedia? I love the Internet. I plan to vacation in Nunavut some day. Go to the beach, relax.

                    1. Oh, cool. You mean you actually know, versus looking it up on Wikipedia?

                      I?upiaq is my first language followed closely by Yup’ik. My paternal grandparents and my maternal grandfather are I?upiat, and my maternal grandmother is Yup’ik. I grew up in a small village on Norton Sound.

            2. Only when the proles do it. When they do it, it’s called “justice”.

      2. Hey Epi,
        The more I think about it, the more I favor anarchism. Can you recommend any books that layout how a theoretical anarchy would function, such as national defense?

        1. FM, you can look at mises.org. They have some pretty good books, IIRC.

          1. Thanks IP.

            1. From me as well. I completely missed his post.

        2. I would be interested as well.

          1. Hans Herman Hoppe is my personal favorite author on Austrian economics and political theory. Stefan Molyneux is a good author in his own right and has a very popular youtube channel that lays out some pretty good philosophy in support of libertarian anarchism and a good theoretical framework of how it could operate.

            In fact I would advise just starting by going to youtube and pair the word anarchy with Hans Hoppe, Tom Woods, Stefan Molyneux or Bob Murphy. They all have a fairly decent youtube presence and are great thinkers in this area.

            Here’s a good Hoppe lecture, the first of a series of 11 lectures. He starts at the very basics of human interaction and scales upwards, talking about the justice and ethics of human interaction on larger scales.

        3. No, because there would be no organized national defense. Individual anarchism is a personal philosophy regarding how one views and interacts with others, not an organizational blueprint for society. That would actually be contradictory for it to try and be so. If you want to read a bit about how someone views it, try Lysander Spooner, but personally, for me, I don’t care that much about the writings of others on the subject. It’s something that I’ve worked out and come to on my own, and later found out that people like Spooner agreed with me on so many points.

          Glad to hear you’re favoring it, but I would suggest just thinking about it at length and thinking about why you favor it rather than trying to get guidance from someone else’s writings.

          1. Thats how I came to libertarianism but I’m finding that my lack of education and knowledge of libertarian thinkers doesn’t allow me into the conversation most of the time.

            1. If you understand and believe in the basic tenets you’re already part of the conversation (though to be technical, individualist anarchists like myself or Nicole aren’t libertarians). It can never hurt to read other peoples’ thoughts on the subject(s), but you don’t need to have to be part of any conversation.

              But if you’re worried about it, start with some Spooner. His works are free on Amazon (as eBooks).

              1. I was just saying that I tend to get ejected from libertarian conversations because of the inability to quote the past libertarian thinkers or cite them as backup for a particular viewpoint.

                Thanks for the direction towards Spooner. I think I may be drifting more towards, as you say, individualist anarchism and would like some reading on the subject.

                1. I was just saying that I tend to get ejected from libertarian conversations because of the inability to quote the past libertarian thinkers or cite them as backup for a particular viewpoint.

                  Well I can quote some people here and there but it’s no silver bullet. The important thing is what you genuinely learned from those different thinkers. Knowing 5 or 6 different rational, logically consistent arguments to defeat someone else’s argument is the silver bullet you’re looking for.

                  There are no short cuts, but the road ahead isn’t as long or arduous as it seems.

                2. the inability to quote the past libertarian thinkers…

                  …should be a feather in your cap. Appeals to authority are kinda the exact opposite of libertarianism anyway.

                  1. No an ‘appeal to authority’ is simply a species of fallacious reasoning. An ‘authority’ on matters of biology would be a biologist. The fallacy is thinking everything a biologist says about biology is valid because he’s a biologist.

                    Being able to quote past thinkers is all well and good but doesn’t matter a bit if you don’t understand the arguments. One’s ability to quote should be a byproduct of their genuine understanding, not a substitute for it.

                3. libertarian thinkers

                  Bastiat, Bastiat, Bastiat.

          2. I get what you are saying. I came to libertarianism on my own like you came to anarchy. The more I think about it, any government service can be abused. I still think there needs to be a mechanism for self defense larger than the individual. I was interest in solutions that have been proposed for a theoretical anarchy. Thanks for the response.

          3. No, because there would be no organized national defense.

            Not exactly. There would be no “national” anything, but there would be defense. Anarcho-capitalism is not pacifism.

            Glad to hear you’re favoring it, but I would suggest just thinking about it at length and thinking about why you favor it rather than trying to get guidance from someone else’s writings.

            I similarly discovered it through thought and observation but you’re not doing yourself or anyone any favors by not honing your mind to those ideas. The thought and ideas of others are essential to all of this. The conversation we’re having right now is inescapably built upon the ideas and conversations of those thousands of generations who came before us.

            I happen to disagree with David Friedman’s version of a free society, but that doesn’t mean I don’t read him or listen to his lectures. Not too long ago, I discovered Hans Hoppe whose arguments really compelled me to change the way I thought about how a free society would and should look.

            I am perhaps no more anti-state than I was before reading these different ideas but in the end I’m all the better for it and the people whom I talk to are all the better for the time I’ve spent researching this thing I’m advocating.

        4. You might want to check out something like The Art of Not Being Governed (Scott), some stuff by David Friedman. One thing you might want to search on is “competitive law,” if you’re not already familiar with that idea.

          1. Thanks. Will do.

        5. The ‘Ethics of Liberty’ or ‘Enemy of the State’ by Murray Rothbard. But I would strongly recommend ‘Democracy the God that Failed’ by Hans-Herman Hoppe. He gives you a a good theoretical framework from which to view statism and free socieities and then offers a pathway to true liberty.

          But also keep in mind there are competing visions of how exactly a free society would look. David Friedman, son of Milton, takes a sort of Chicago school consequentialist approach, where the Austrian school anarchists like Rothbard or Hoppe take a more deontologist or ‘natural law’ approach to a free society. There is divergence of thought within libertarian anarchism.

          1. Thanks. My Amazon purchase history is going to buy me more scrutiny from the NSA.

            1. You can get them for free off of mises.org. you can also check out

              http://oll.libertyfund.org/

              1. Thanks. I’ve got a lot of reading ahead of me.

                1. I think you’ve received a lot of good advice. Good reading.

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  2. And it also explains why they would need to turn to the feds instead of using California’s asset forfeiture system. California only allows local law enforcement agencies to keep 65 percent of what they seize. The federal sharing program lets agencies keep 80 percent.

    B..b..but Holder announced that he fixed this!

    /derp

    1. Oh, the fix is in, all right.

      1. Yeah, the fix is in: they just confirmed another asset-forfeiting police statist to replace Eric.

  3. …anticipates future forfeiture revenue in the budgeting process, which Department of Justice rules forbid.

    Forbid is such a strong word. And, apparently, inaccurate.

  4. Here in Maine all forfeitures and other revenue generated by law enforcement goes into the general fund, which takes away much of the incentive for cops to police for profit.

    However, I’ve noticed an increase in reported operations where local cops team up with the feds.

    Now I know why. This way the local departments get to keep some of the loot that would have otherwise gone into the general fund.

    1. Fighting for our freedoms, every damn day.

      1. Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?

        1. Sometimes, when I see a video of the police murdering a citizen, it does.

        2. That’s the pepper spray.

  5. Little interesting below-the-fold story here in the Seattle Times:

    WASHINGTON (AP) ? An American and an Italian held hostage by al-Qaida, as well as two Americans working with the terror group, were inadvertently killed by CIA drone strikes early this year, the government revealed Thursday.

    President Barack Obama said he took full responsibility for the counterterror missions and offered his “grief and condolences” to the families of the hostages, Warren Weinstein of Rockville, Maryland, and Giovanni Lo Porto.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/na…..da-killed/

    Peace prizes all around.

    1. Obama defended the legality of the January drone strike that killed the hostages and said there had been no evidence that the two men were present at what the U.S. had determined was an al-Qaida compound in Pakistan.

      “Based on the intelligence that we had obtained at the time, including hundreds of hours of surveillance, we believed that this was an al-Qaida compound, that no civilians were present and that capturing these terrorists was not possible,” Obama said at the White House. “And we do believe that the operation did take out dangerous members of al-Qaida.”

      So, weighing the pros and cons, it looks like a good shoot.

      1. What is a Hellfire missile but a really, really big flashbang, amirite?

        1. “We use the Mk. 46 Hellfire flashbang stun grenade to help subdue control gain compliance when conducting raids serving warrants and other routine special operations.”

          /Yeah, I know those strikes wouldn’t be altered by most cops

    2. One of those is a DC-area local. No mention on the local news about it.

      1. Bush had a higher body count, so…

    3. Obama takes “full responsibility” for the deaths of two hostages? So, when is he surrendering to police in order to plead guilty to two counts of manslaughter?

      1. It would *awesome* if some Helen Thomas type asked him that at a press conference.

        “Uh ?.”

        1. No one hated the Jews like she did, that’s for sure!!

          1. Very well. Some Andrea Mitchell type, then.

    4. That’s slightly better than “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

  6. Shackford wins at alt text

    1. Yep. At least the cop didn’t *rape* the phone.

  7. California only allows local law enforcement agencies to keep 65 percent of what they seize. The federal sharing program lets agencies keep 80 percent.

    “Street value”, right?

    Seriously, what percentage of Americans even *know* about this stuff? Ima say less than 5%.

  8. South Gate also, according to Engle’s report, anticipates future forfeiture revenue in the budgeting process, which Department of Justice rules forbid.

    It’s more of a guideline, I suppose.

    1. It’s just like how they don’t have quotas for the police. Really, they don’t! Stop laughing! They said so!

  9. I wonder what the biker gangs think about all of this citizen counter-surveillance….

    On one hand, it helps reign in law enforcement. On the other, they now have to be more careful about neighbors videoing them…

  10. From the Los Angeles Times piece reporting the story:

    “We’ve had incidents where people have videotaped us and it requires unbelievable restraint. Typically during times where things can be a little chaotic,” said South Gate police Capt. Darren Arakawa.

    By “unbelievable restraint”, is he talking about:

    1) The spiritual effort required to allow someone to exercise their right to monitor your public actions without abusing your non-existent-but-unaccountable power?

    2) The moral effort of the person filming to refrain from helping their fellow man/woman/cis-gendered individual as they’re being assaulted and continue filming, knowing full well that no punishment will come to the assaulters and the only possible relief will be in the form of your taxes?

    3) The physical effort required to subdue the rogue, camera-wielding belligerents putting the officer’s life in jeopardy by capturing his soul through film?

    1. Nice.

  11. How fat is that cop?

    1. He’s so fat that he could be lieutenant governor of New Jersey.

  12. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  13. As a teen in the 50’s, adults always advised “stay out of South Gate”, and they were right then, and still right now.

  14. Dear Police: We pay you with tax dollars, we will watch and record you http://wp.me/p31sf8-1Mb

  15. What do you expect from our government crooks. Asset forfeiture laws are bull. These laws are only designed to help pay for law enforcement, prosecutor, judges, politician, and regulatory agencies, bloated retirement pay and benefit packages. Government crooks are exempt from the laws that they expect everyone else to follow. I’m sick of these bastards getting away with every thing. When will they be held accountable?

  16. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netjob80.com

  17. Compare the dates this Equitable Sharing Fund looting became popular in These States and you will detect the leper’s bell of the approaching looter. This is the proximate cause of the economic collapse detected by securities traders in 2008. Remember Adam Smith: only a government can ruin and impoverish a nation. The 1929crash was caused by prohibition enforcement combined with income tax expropriation. This one was no different.

  18. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

    ————- http://www.work-cash.com

  19. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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  21. pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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  22. my Aunty Sophia just got a nearly new BMW X4 SUV just by some parttime working online with a lap-top
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  23. my Aunty Sophia just got a nearly new BMW X4 SUV just by some parttime working online with a lap-top
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