Civil Asset Forfeiture

Minnesota Poised to Pass Policing Bill That Would Restrict Asset Forfeiture and No-Knock Raids

The bill would limit petty seizures and require more reporting and oversight of no-knock raids.

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Minnesota lawmakers reached a tentative deal over the weekend on a package of criminal justice and policing reforms, including new restrictions on civil asset forfeiture and no-knock raids.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the large compromise bill would require, among other things, more justifications and oversight of no-knock warrants and stricter rules for when law enforcement can use confidential informants and jailhouse snitches. It would also limit when police can seize vehicles and create protections for innocent owners whose cars are seized under asset forfeiture, a practice that allows law enforcement to seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity.

Minnesota would join other states that have passed policing reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Police reform legislation collapsed in the Minnesota legislature last year amid a partisan standoff between the Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate. State lawmakers have until late Wednesday to pass a public safety package and avoid a partial government shutdown.

Because of prior reforms, Minnesota already requires a criminal conviction before assets can be forfeited in civil court, but supporters of the legislation say it will further protect owners. The legislation would also restrict cash seizures under $1,500.

"Including forfeiture reforms in the public safety and judiciary agreement is just what the numbers call for," Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha said in a press statement. "Based on our data, the language in the agreement starts the right conversation, particularly around small forfeitures."

The Minnesota State Auditor's Office reported that forfeitures of $1,500 or less made up 75 percent of the forfeiture cases it monitored. The average size of an individual forfeiture in that category was $473.

Law enforcement groups say asset forfeiture is a crucial tool to disrupt organized crime like drug trafficking by targeting its illicit proceeds. However, civil liberties groups point to numbers like those above to argue that lax oversight and perverse incentives lead police to go fishing for petty seizures, not cartel lords.

More than half of U.S. states have passed some form of asset forfeiture reform over the last decade because of those concerns.

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm that has challenged forfeiture laws in several states, gave Minnesota "D+" grade in a recent 50-state survey of asset forfeiture laws, noting that innocent owners whose cars were seized bore the burden of proving their innocence in court.

Progressive state lawmakers say the compromise deal doesn't go far enough to hold police accountable.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also announced Monday that he would take executive action on several policing issues, such as expanding transparency requirements and mandating that agencies create body cam policies.

NEXT: Seattle Is Proposing to Get Rid of Single-Family Zoning In Name Only. Literally.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Criminal Justice Minnesota Warrants

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19 responses to “Minnesota Poised to Pass Policing Bill That Would Restrict Asset Forfeiture and No-Knock Raids

  1. transparency requirements and mandating that agencies create body cam policies.

    Where are we on the bodycam issue, are they racist or not?

    1. Well that depends on what they capture of course.

      The regulatory compliance part of my brain sees “must create a body cam policy” and immediately defaults to creating a 1 page policy document that says “we don’t use them” and you’ve complied with the new law.

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    2. White guy shot and killed committing a violent felony, not racist.
      Minority guy shot and killed committing a violent felony, racist.
      Cops will now be required to ask race, ethnicity, and desired pronoun before shooting any violent criminals in the act of committing a felony.

    3. The “Cops Live” cameras were deemed racist for just displaying basic reality.

  2. That would totally have saved Floyd.

    1. Roger Waters still would have left the group.

      1. In a momentary lapse of reason.

      2. dude hangs with Misek

  3. While appropriately condemning every other abuse by police, Reason still refuses to criticize (or even name) the black Capital Police Officer who murdered Ashli Babbitt on January 6.

    1. The deluge of CRT articles is the explanation.

    2. That was a totally reasonable use of force to stop a criminal actively engaged in a criminal action.

      “Ms. Babbitt is seen with a Make America Great Again flag draped around her shoulders, amid a crowd of rioters inside the Capitol building, trying to get through a set of locked doors.

      She is then seen climbing onto a ledge next to the door. Investigators said Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass had been broken, after it was struck with flagpoles and helmets.”

    3. Do we even know? I have seen articles about Babbitt’s family suing to discover the name.

  4. Well, it is about time. Now the city can rebuild and restore the 1800 businesses that those evil cops burned in the name of a violent, worthless Junkie. Darn cops.

  5. There ya go, REASON. Note, explain and praise actual fucking changes made to how policing is done. CAF is just one of many areas that might actually have been improved if BLM were actually about improved policing for poor parts of town.

    There were a LOT of motivations for people to back and participate in BLM this last year. A lot of political motivations, revolutionary motivations, good ol’ grifter motivations, clicks/views motivations, etc.,

    Improved policing in general (and in poor and black parts of these cities in particular), while (for once) trying to address the safety and quality of life for those poor people?

    That seems to be pretty far down the list.

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