Mississippi Governor Extends Middle Finger To Constitution On Twitter While Applauding Asset Forfeiture

from the time-for-state-voters-to-use-the-EJECT-button dept

Nearly two years ago, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed a bill reforming the state’s asset forfeiture programs. The state needed it. Mississippi’s law enforcement has directly profited from asset forfeiture for years. This has been combined with an extremely low evidentiary bar and zero reporting requirements to completely skew the incentives. Making it so easy to just take stuff from citizens has resulted in things like this:

That conflict [of interest] is on full display in Richland, Miss., where construction of a new $4.1 million law enforcement training facility was funded entirely by forfeiture proceeds garnered by police in Richland—a town of just 7,000 people. A sign in the building’s window boasts: “Richland Police Station tearfully donated by drug dealers.”

And this:

Mississippi drug warriors had their eye on nearly $300,000 in “forfeited” funds but threw it all away by issuing one of the most deficient search warrants ever. It’s not that it was loaded with errors or questionable probable cause assertions. It’s that it omitted perhaps the single most important element of a search warrant — the location being searched.

When the forfeiture is a foregone conclusion, small towns end up with multi-million dollar facilities and supposed drug warriors with an eye on someone else’s money can’t even be bothered to fill out the paperwork. The reforms were needed and Governor Phil Bryant approved them.

Not that it mattered to local law enforcement.

Mississippi police agencies have been seizing cash, guns and vehicles without legal authority for months after a state law changed and police didn’t notice.

An Associated Press review of a Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics database shows more than 60 civil asset forfeitures with nearly $200,000 in property taken by state and local agencies under a law that lapsed on June 30.

The state’s cops just kept taking stuff under the old rules. And why not? They weren’t detail oriented under the old system. That wasn’t going to change just because legislators passed a law directly affecting their work. It certainly didn’t matter to law enforcement that the top official in the state — Governor Phil Bryant — had given his approval of the reforms by signing the bill into law.

Apparently it doesn’t matter to Governor Phil Bryant either.

If you can’t read/see the tweet, here’s the Mississippi governor telling residents they and their precious Constitutional rights can go fuck themselves.

When drug dealers have taken over your neighborhood, call a Constitutional scholar and see how that works out for you.

Governor Bryant’s tweet links to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, which has just sent him a letter asking him (and other state legislators) not to roll back the minor reforms that went into effect last year. His tweet directly mocks Ilya Shapiro, the Constitutional scholar quoted in the Center’s post. And it directly mocks everyone who saw law enforcement abusing a weapon in its drug war arsenal to strip property from citizens with almost zero accountability or avenues of recourse.

In short, Governor Bryant thinks cops should have more rights and people not even accused of crimes should have less. That’s an extremely shitty look for someone representing one of the fifty states of the United States of America.

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Comments on “Mississippi Governor Extends Middle Finger To Constitution On Twitter While Applauding Asset Forfeiture”

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Anonymous Coward says:

same sort of attitude of just about everyone in the USA who stands little chance of being in the position of ordinary citizens! when you’ve done no wrong, not been accused of any crime, why should you be penalized by assholes like this? he’s supposed to be ensuring the law is upheld, not bent and twisted to get money and property from ordinary, law abiding people, just to line the pockets of law enforcement! for fucks sake wise up people. vote him and his ilk out of office first chance you get and make it clear why!!

Anonymous Coward says:


The solution is simple: All the Governor is saying is that if they don’t want all of their assets seized by his state police, all minorities have to do is stop living in areas next to rich white people.

He will be happy to set up a minority only ghetto areas where they will never have their assets seized as long as they comply with his every single demand.

David says:

Bad summary.

In short, Governor Bryant thinks cops should have more rights

Nope. When Bryant states

When drug dealers have taken over your neighborhood, call a Constitutional scholar and see how that works out for you.

that does not call for cops having more rights. It calls for cops not to bother about what rights they may or may not have.

This is not a call to change rights. It is a call to ignore them. Fixing that is outside of the hands of the court system. It requires sending in the U.S. marshalls and replacing those forces who think the laws of the U.S. are optional for them.

Personanongrata says:

Moral Busy-Bodies, Governors and Tax-Feeding Losers

When drug dealers have taken over your neighborhood, call a Constitutional scholar and see how that works out for you. https://t.co/SUR4bVZXHA

— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) January 31, 2019

Dear tax feeding loser (aka Phil Bryant),

The only reason drug dealers have taken over neighborhoods is that moral busy-bodies who think they know better than everyone else have arbitrarily decreed certain substances that people ingest verboten.

The moral busy-bodies are directly responsible for the creation of drug "black markets" where customers are forced to purchase products of unknown origin, unknown content and unknown purity.

"Black markets" also allow under-aged persons access to various recreational drugs.

Moral busy-bodies are also responsible for much of the violence associated with drug dealing as police often use SWAT, no-knock warrants and defective breach tactics that place every person involved in great danger in order to serve a search warrant to look for evidence of a possible crime.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Choices choices...

Let’s see, drug sellers who can certainly cause problems but there are ways of dealing with them, and in the worst case scenario you’re allowed to defend yourself against them…


A group with a tendency to steal everything that isn’t nailed down or on fire(before breaking out the pry-bars and fire-extinguishers for the rest), who are armed by default, are constrained by the law more in theory than fact and know it, and who you cannot defend yourself in a worst-case-scenario…

Of the two, if I had to have one in my neighborhood, pretty sure I know which one I’d feel safer with, and sadly it is not the latter, much as I’d love it to be so.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Dude makes a stupid mistake & appears in blackface – people screaming it is the end of the world if he doesn’t resign!

Dude says the rule of law isn’t important & you poor peasants need to accept being robbed by those paid to protect you or something worse will happen! – Not even a blip on the outrage-o-meter.

Blackface the biggest crime in humanity dwarfing the PD sliding into being a street gang with military weapons we paid to give them.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Agreed. While casual racism is a big problem in society the outrage-media complex needs to settle down and work out how to solve the problem since screaming until people lose their jobs isn’t working, it just drives such attitudes underground.

If we’re going to moral panic over anything it needs to be about the rule of law being enforced. Due process is not an impediment to justice.

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