Asset Forfeiture

Iowa Cops Buy an Armored Vehicle With $300,000 in Asset Forfeiture Funds

It's a nasty mix of police militarization and civil asset forfeiture.

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On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office in Linn County, Iowa, announced the purchase of a BearCat G2 armored vehicle with $297,061 in funds obtained via civil asset forfeiture.

Although Iowa has established limits on asset forfeiture, the practice is alive and well in the state. In 2017, the state legislature passed a law requiring a criminal conviction before property forfeiture, as law enforcement could previously seize assets based solely on suspicion. Oddly enough, the change only applies to possessions valued at less than $5,000, meaning more valuable belongings can still be taken by the police without a conviction.

In 2018, Iowa's Supreme Court reined in other parts of the practice, including requiring courts to verify that police legally confiscated property before considering a claim on those goods.

Proponents say that asset forfeiture stops crimes at their roots; if law enforcement officers are able to cut off the tools used to commit a crime—such as the car driven during a drug exchange—then crime rates should decrease, the thinking goes. In practice, though, it has a negligible impact on crime rates, and merely provides a perverse incentive for police to seize as much property as possible in order to fund their departments. In Iowa, for example, police get to keep 100 percent of the proceeds.

This case provides the consummate example, considering that the Linn County Sheriff's Office opted for an exorbitantly expensive armored vehicle at the cost of the community.

As A. Barton Hinkle points out in Reason, there are perhaps some instances when a police department would understandably want to use an armored vehicle. If "a police officer gets shot approaching a building," he writes, and "he's bleeding out in the street and the shooter is still active, you don't want to two plainclothes detectives with a stretcher trying to get him to safety."

"Armored personnel carriers also can prove useful during riots and other forms of urban unrest," he adds.

But those two situations are few and far between. They're also hard to justify given that police deaths are near record lows.

Civil asset forfeiture is an unjust practice which has little to no bearing on crime rates. And that was perfectly demonstrated here, bearing in mind that unfairly seized funds have not been used to cut down on crime in the slightest, but rather to militarize the police.

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  1. Too big a hurry to get it cheap from the feds?

  2. Iowa is the front line of a war on people without badges.

  3. Ah yes, because when i think Iowa, i think urban unrest and riots. Oh wait, that’s corn fields.

    1. Well, after all, the corn fields are where the aliens always land if traffic is too busy over DC.

    2. Someone hasn’t seen Children Of The Corn.

      1. But they keep the murder under wraps. Its part of their ‘vibrant’ culture.

    3. Corn sugar plants, The Landover Baptist Church, prohibitionism… But what happens, grammatically, in the hypothetical argument just before the imaginary cop shot by gedanken-experiment pet owners is approached by stretcher-bearers. Can anyone translate that part?

      1. Fucking weirdo.

  4. Money legally taken from convicted criminals is called “a fine”, and is paid to the courts.
    Anything else is corrupt theft. And unconstitutional.

    1. Iowa *shudders*. Mr. Binion got this one right, for a change.
      Hey, fucking corrupt ass government trying to pretend that seizing property without a trial or just compensation, what do you think the Founders would think about your clever endruns around the Constitution? I’m guessing that they’d demonstrate why the Second Amendment was included in that document.

      1. *trying to pretend that its legal

      2. Let’s not pretend the Founders didn’t start weaseling around the Constitution before the ink was dry. They were fallible, and subject to all the weaknesses of men.

        Asset Forfeiture is prime example of why I want the War On Drugs dead, Dead, DEAD. Never mind the cost ion money,. The cost in lost civil rights is horrendous. IF the WOD managed to cut off the flow, there might be an argument for it. It doesn’t.

        *spit*

        1. You might spare a thought for the financial collapse invariably caused by every upsurge in fanatical prohibitionism and the pseudoscience that causes it. After Herbert Hoover, no republicans could get elected for five terms. After the Bush-Reagan crash, Clinton was a welcome change, and after the Bush Junior asset-forfeiture crash, the Dem-CPUSA coalition won as the lesser evil.

          1. You’re are one bizarre idiot weirdo.

        2. I think we should legalize all drugs and not tax them. We should instead subsidize their manufacture so a pound of heroin is like $10.00. Then there can be mass overdoses everywhere, and we can finally be rid of them.

  5. Serving the community better was nowhere on their priority list.

    1. Serving the community ^warrants^ better was nowhere on their priority list.

      Fixed..

  6. 300k for that useless truck?

    Don’t believe it. Somebody pocketed most of that.

    1. Yes, someone did and it is likely that is someone is a military contractor/manufacturer. I have always suspected that the militarization of the police is related to a need to get rid of surplus military gear so the army can buy new. Another example of feeding the military industrial complex.

      1. Well call me a cynic.

        How much for the truck?

        I have $80k in then…how much you want me to put down here on this invoice?

        (Slides envelope over table)

    2. I’m sure it’s probably pretty expensive. Based on at least a 1 ton dually that is armored, and probably has a lot of other custom features as well. Although I’m sure e markup is huge, and I doubt they dickered on price.

      The whole thing is bullshit. Like they need anything like that in a small community. Someone needs to investigate that purchase.

      1. Blue Ray players in the back of the headrests for the kids… Mini bar… Seats that fold into the floor for when you need extra storage space. The whole 9 yards.

  7. Philly probably wants a couple now after 6 cops were shot trying to serve a drug arrest warrant. A seven hour standoff before the perp surrendered. At least the cops didn’t burn the house down.
    Isn’t there some “knock out gas” that could be fired or pumped into buildings where some armed asswipe is holed up? Better than having 100 cops standing around a tense neighborhood for hours and hours before someone either kills the gunman or he surrenders.

    1. No, there is no such thing as “knock out gas”.

      1. Russia tried testing some knockout gas but it killed 200 people instead.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carfentanil

    2. 1. There is no such thing as ‘knock-out gas’ that won’t kill people – ask the Russians about trying it.

      2. Fuck ’em. Stop serving drug warrants. When cops stop preying on the communities they are hired to protect then people will stop trying to kill them when they come in to prey on the community.

    3. Pictures that I saw showed that the Philly police did have an armored vehicle at the scene.

      The standoff for hours didn’t work out badly since no one died.

  8. Linn County is a largely rural county with a low crime rate. Half the population lives in Cedar Rapids (132K), not a hotbed of crime. What on Earth do they need an armored car for?

    1. Have you ever faced down a snarling Jack Russell terrier with nothing but a nightstick and a taser and a pistol? You’d wet your pants just like these cops do and pray for the protection of an armored vehicle, let me tell you. Some of these Jack Russell’s can easily get to be the size of a Jack Russell or even larger.

    2. Andy Taylor sure as fuck never needed anything like that truck.

    3. to collect overdue library fines.

  9. Brat-a-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!

  10. They have a big problem with corn thieves, dealing corn and corn abuse.

    1. Not to mention cornhole cheaters.

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  12. They could require the money be sent to the state, who then sends money back to police departments based on population and crime rates, but no bonus money for being an efficient “donor”.

    That should slow things down, but won’t happen since legislators want to spend and are voratious for money, and the more self-sufficient local departments are, the more general taxes they can spend elsewhere.

    As with lottery money and schools, it ends up offloading as a replacement fund rather than a bonus fund.

    1. better yet, they could just stop stealing from the citizenry!

    2. There is a big danger in sending the money further up the chain, and that is that the further away from the citizenry the politicians are, the more callous they are towards the citizenry.
      A good example is the EU bureaucrats in Brussells not giving a shit about fishermen in the UK.
      At least if the money is kept local, the locals can find their local politicians and get in their faces at city council meetings.

  13. Oddly enough, the change only applies to possessions valued at less than $5,000, meaning more valuable belongings can still be taken by law enforcement without a conviction.

    Oddly enough, inscribe all your possessions with “This is valued at less than $5,000.”

    1. The company insuring your Camry approves.

  14. Laugh all you want.
    You think “corn hole” is a game.
    But in Iowa…

  15. How many crimes in the history of Linn County, Iowa would have warranted the use of an armored car to investigate? I’m guessing somewhere between 0 and none.

    1. They will “find” a meth lab out in the sticks to drive it through, for justice..

  16. Confiscation, fines and forfeiture surrounding Iowa’s Hubinger Brothers corn sugar plant was a major feature of 1929 Prohibition enforcement policies which directly caused money to flee brokerages in The Crash–once The Depression was clearly occurring. Corn sugar glucose by the carload fed three-story continuous stills producing the ethanol needed to convert non-alcoholic beer back into the Avatar of Satan which God had intended in the first place. To Republicans, this was coincidence, not causation.

    1. WTF is wrong with you?

  17. But civil asset forfeiture is the law right? So we should demand any elected DA file as many cases of forfeiture as possible, and not accept any radical that wants to undermine the iron fist of the rule of law by utilizing prosecutorial discretion to decline these cases until the law is changed, right? Because that’s what far-right libertarianism is all about, making damn sure that boot stomps on your face while lamenting that someone should really get around to changing the law one of these days, if there’s ever any free time from the far more important mission of making sure nothing gets in the way of corporate profits. After all, it’s only civil rights.

    Well that about sums up the Reason.com commentariat.

    1. Put the meth pipe down and go try to get some sleep.

  18. gosh that looks like a monster! what are they gonna do with that?
    کابل شبکه

  19. I disagree strongly with civil asset forfeiture, but the screed against buying an armored vehicle and characterizing it as a militarization of police are mistaken. They have a right and a duty to protect officers even if the death toll of officers is low. Offensive weapons may be a different issue, but this vehicle will probably be used in a defense way most of the time.

    1. “probably” used in a defense way “most” of the time.

      You don’t sound too sure about that. Post “Hihn” if there’s a cop holding a gun to your head…

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  23. They can use it for extra protection for when they execute red flag gun confiscation in urban areas.

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