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.

Filed Under: asset forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture, legalized theft, mississippi, phil bryant, stealing


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 9:36am

    Cool tech story, bro.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 9:58am

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

    Fixed that for you Governor!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2019 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      Its almost like shop keepers having to pay the mafia for protection. If you dont pay then they will let vermin setup camp. Well, at least you can legally shot the vermin if it threatens you - maybe its better that way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:12am

    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!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:26am

    LawDirt

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:47am

    NIMBY

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2019 @ 5:23am

      Re: NIMBY

      All the Governor is saying is that if they don't want all of their assets seized by his state police, all anyone has to do is stop living in the state of Mississippi.

      ftfy

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 5 Feb 2019 @ 11:03am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 11:50am

      Re: Bad summary.

      If the cops are ignoring the rights of others yet you can't do the same against the cops, it means the cops get extra rights. It doesn't matter if your reading comprehension level is too low to understand normal English. It does matter when you make your opinions public on the internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2019 @ 5:25am

      Re: Bad summary.

      "This is not a call to change rights. It is a call to ignore them. "

      It is a bit late for that now isn't it .. seems they have been ignoring the law for some time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 5 Feb 2019 @ 12:17pm

    Is it possible to leverage our authority to perform a citizen's arrest to civilly take other people's assets? Just wondering because I need a new margarita maker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 5 Feb 2019 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      A citizen's arrest of someone else's margarita maker would be criminal asset forfeiture, not civil asset forfeiture.

      You'd have to prove that the margarita maker was involved in some criminal undertaking. That would have been easier in the time of prohibition. Can't you arrest some crack pipe instead?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 12:28pm

    Police are accountable

    I mean they are the police, they took an oath and everything, they are trained to do the right thing. Trust them, they are the police. Go to sleep now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 5 Feb 2019 @ 12:29pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 3:44pm

    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...

    Or

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 4:23pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 7 Feb 2019 @ 2:38am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Feb 2019 @ 5:15am

    Is this the same state that's facing an outbreak of measles because the anti-vaxx bs is running out of control and vaccinating isn't mandatory?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2019 @ 5:29am

      Re:

      The states that have reported cases to CDC are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

      But Washington is the worst - not sure if there is a number which once exceeded becomes an epidemic but some are calling it so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2019 @ 7:56am

    This is yet another reason why the WAR ON DRUGS needs to end!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 6 Feb 2019 @ 9:08am

    The most dangerous gang operating in the USA wears uniforms and badges.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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