District of Columbia Restricts Government’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Shopping Sprees

Looks like Washington, D.C. is prepared to end the practice of police seizing property without criminal charges or even an arrest (‘your property is guilty until proven innocent’). Another vote on restriction on seizure of ordinary people’s property to stuff police coffers will take place on December 2nd:

The D.C. Council on Tuesday agreed to overhaul the city’s civil asset forfeiture program with a bill that would give property owners new rights and eventually require that seizure proceeds go into the city’s general fund rather than to the police department.

The council’s unanimous vote caps more than a year of debate over the department’s use of laws that allowed police officers to take millions of dollars in cash, cars and other property without charging the owners with crimes.

Advocates such as the District’s Public Defender Service said the bill is needed to curb police power and protect working-class property owners. Law enforcement authorities said it would create an administrative burden for the city and affect the department’s budget by reducing seizure revenue.

“It defangs the government’s ability to take money, cars and other assets with little to no due process,” D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, said in an interview. “We now have a model, I believe, for the country to follow.”

The council is set to take a second and final vote on Dec. 2.

Via D.C. Council votes to overhaul asset forfeiture, give property owners new rights @ Washington Post.

See, also, how civil asset forfeiture works as as police go looking for cash:

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