Michigan State Police Spend The Weekend Getting Ratioed For Bragging About Stealing $40,000 From A Driver

from the at-least-$40k-in-reputational-damage dept

The Michigan State Police recently informed Twitter users that it's engaged in stealing money from drivers. I don't know what it expected from this announcement, but I'm sure spending a few days being ratioed wasn't what the agency had in mind.

Here's the first part of the MSP's "Yes, we steal money" announcement:

If you can't see the tweet, it says:

Trooper from First District Headquarters conducted a traffic stop for following too close on I-75 in Monroe County on March 3rd. Further investigation resulted in locating and seizing approximately $40,000.00 in cash. The driver was a 33 year old male from out of state and was

Here's the kicker, picking up where the first tweet left off:

not arrested. The investigation continues.

So, some alleged criminal, originally only suspected of "following too close" was pulled over, hassled into a search, and relieved of his $40,000 by state troopers. No arrest, but I guess the money was guilty of something.

This statement, issued a day after the tweets, doesn't really clarify anything. What it does show is the MSP enaged in catch-and-release drug enforcement, where suspected criminals are free to go, but not any cash they happen to have on them.

Lt. Brian Oleksyk, MSP public information officer, said the traffic stop and seizure were related to a narcotics investigation.

“We develop probable cause in order to seize money,” he said.

That's a blanket statement about ideals. That's not a statement specific to this "investigation," which began with a pretextual stop and ended in a windfall for the State Police.

But the most instructive thing about this whole experience is the hundreds of replies calling the State Police thieves. It shows people are pretty sick of hearing cops brag about how they took money from people without actually arresting the supposed criminals who were carrying the cash. Agencies engaged in civil asset forfeiture do not have broad support from the public. If they actually believe they do, they're lying to themselves.

Cash is still a legal way to pay all debts public and private. It says so right on the money. Traveling with cash does not make someone a criminal and the existence of cash isn't the same thing as actual probable cause. I doubt being ratioed on Twitter will make the MSP rethink its forfeiture programs. But it does make it clear many people see "forfeiture" and "theft" as synonymous.

Then there's the question of whether the MSP can actually do this. Last year, a law was passed effectively banning forfeitures under $50,000 without a conviction.

Starting in 90 days, the laws will prohibit assets taken in suspected drug crimes from being forfeited unless the defendant is convicted or the value of the money and property is more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband.

Prosecutors and cops made highly-questionable arguments against the new law, claiming having to prosecute drug dealers would result in fewer drug dealers being prosecuted. Unless there's a loophole the MSP is planning to use (like the federal option), this set of tweets was the State Police announcing to everyone the agency was planning to break the law. Not a good look.

Filed Under: asset forfeiture, bragging, civil asset forfeiture, legalized theft, michgan state police, michigan


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  1. identicon
    David, 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:37pm

    “We develop probable cause in order to seize money,” he said

    That's sort of blunt. I had to read that several times. No shit.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:57pm

    Re: “We develop probable cause in order to seize money,” he

    And no matter how I read that I interpret it as "we personally profit off parallel construction."

    Another place I never plan to travel to.

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

  3. icon
    wshuff (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 3:58pm

    "We develop probably cause I order to seize money." So if it takes probable cause to seize money, and we seized money, it follows that there must have been probable cause. And if a woman weighs the same as a duck, she's a witch.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:05pm

    claiming having to prosecute drug dealers would result in fewer drug dealers being prosecuted.

    If we prosecute more of them, fewer of them will be prosecuted, QED.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:07pm

    When the investigator, judge and jury are the same person, it is called being a vigilante.

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

  6. icon
    bynkman (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:08pm

    Re:

    Guilty until proven innocent.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:12pm

    Re:

    No, we call him Boss Hogg.

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

  8. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:12pm

    I’m really having trouble thinking of any reason—rational or otherwise—to be posting this sort of thing, especially since the first tweet(s) implied nothing criminal or suspicious about the person they seized cash from. What did they expect or hope was going to happen?

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

  9. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:25pm

    Re:

    Cheered on by the ignorant and/or naive who still believe the idea of 'the police took property from a person, the police are never wrong, therefore the person who was robbed must have been a criminal and had it coming'.

    Basically a sad attempt at 'look at us, look at what we did!' that would be funny in how childish it is if it wasn't showing the proceeds from what would have been but a year previous a legally sanctioned armed robbery, and what will even now almost certainly be quite a hassle for the rightful owner to get back.

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

  10. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:33pm

    Has anyone yet done an outcome study of asset forfeiture

    We know that asset forfeitures happen all the time, and usually they're successful (that is the precinct gets to keep the money and all legal efforts to reclaim it fail). Has anyone done an outcome analysis of those who lose substantial amounts of money to asset forfeiture? Do they commit suicide? Do they become terrorists? Do they become homeless? Do they recover?

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

  11. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:37pm

    'Look at what we got from our latest robbery!'

    Dumb criminals end up in cells.

    Smart criminals end up in law enforcement.

    Had someone without a badge robbed someone of tens of thousands of dollars, took pictures and then posted both pictures and an admission of guilt to social media it would be the easiest armed robbery case ever, however because the robbers in question have badges this time I imagine it will result in a slap on the wrists at worst, thanks to screwed up laws and spineless judges.

    It really shows just how corrupt and out of touch police can be when bragging about robbing an innocent person is something that didn't immediately get shot down as an incredibly stupid idea.

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

  12. icon
    Beefcake (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:38pm

    Great Takes State

    You don’t stay First District by letting them keep their money.

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

  13. identicon
    Riley, 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:40pm

    As a former Michigander...

    As one who left Michigan in 1976, I see that the Michigan State Police remain bullies and perjurers. One of the many small reasons I left the state...

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

  14. icon
    Thad (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 4:54pm

    Re: 'Look at what we got from our latest robbery!'

    Dumb criminals end up in cells.

    Smart criminals end up in law enforcement.

    I guess "smart" is relative. It's not the word I'd have chosen for the police in this story.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Re: 'Look at what we got from our latest robbery!'

    Dumb criminals end up in cells.
    Thin Blue Line Gang Tyrants steal legally.

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

  16. icon
    Mike C. (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 5:16pm

    You almost have to wonder...

    It's obvious that the police want to release the criminals and only go after the cash and goods in order to keep the assets, but I'm starting to wonder if they're starting to intentionally ignore certain law-breaking so that the money train keeps rolling.

    For example, in this case, once they found the money, did they keep searching? Was any other contraband found? How about weapons? How about electronics... were they searched or seized? Or, is it just as likely that as soon as they found the money, they decided on a course of action most likely to result in retention of the cash but release of the individual?

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

  17. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 5:25pm

    No, sadly you do not

    No need to wonder, two past articles(one on TD, one off) come immediately to mind, and assuming my memory is working decently both answer the question quite neatly, though not nicely.

    One article pointed out that the police in the area put much more effort into the outgoing traffic where the money would be than they do the incoming traffic where the drugs would be, and the other covered the police basically stopping drug interdiction entirely for the period of time that they no longer profited from them, with both articles making clear that at least for some police it's all about the money, and the drugs are just the excuse.

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

  18. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 6:14pm

    I saw this on Twitter and made a comment about it being legal & while people wanted to drag the cops they need to understand they elected the people who made it legal for them to pad their budget by robbing people.

    A few people tried to say how it wasn't legal under the constitution & some other deflections.

    The cops are doing this because they are allowed to.
    They are allowed to b/c we voted for people who said they would stop the drug dealers.
    We turned a blind eye to them not stopping drug dealers & robbing people... until there was a photogenic "victim" we could feel for.
    The media pries the records of of all the cash taken & shocking... its not huge drug cartels being hurt, its poor people being fscked over once again to cover the fact we don't want to pay what we should for the protecting we demand.
    Kid sells a single joint & his parents lose their home... and hardly a blip b/c drugs are bad mmmkay.
    BF borrows his GF's car, does something sketchy... she loses her car.
    Then there was the cop who seized a very expensive car, didn't wait for the cars court date to defend itself before he had it repainted for his use on the job.

    This is bullshit, this does not work, this is being abused... but there is little will by politicians to change it b/c the unions will run stories about how they are soft on crime & the idiot public eats it up... somehow missing we've watched videos of unarmed people being murdered by cops & this same union says we shoudl wait to pass judgement on when our lying eyes saw the officer pull the gun, put it to the victims head, fire, then wait 15 min before calling for help.

    We need to have faith in the system... perhaps it is time to stop having blind faith that they are always the good guys. They are humans & allowing them special outs from actions that if we had done would result in us being in jail just encourages the bad behavior. They have a tough job, but when they protect those who break the law b/c they have a badge it makes us much less safe. Calling a cop for help can end up with you or a loved one dead... isn't this reason enough to question why that is?

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

  19. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 6:54pm

    NOW how much would you pay?

    its not huge drug cartels being hurt, its poor people
    Kid sells a single joint & his parents lose their home...
    BF borrows his GF's car, does something sketchy... she loses her car....

    Oh this iceberg is exceptionally unboyant. The amount of it that is underwater is a cosmological horror.

    Elite deviance is epidemic in the States and costs the society money and lives in quantities several magnitudes higher than all the common street larceny and homicide put together. This is the stuff that crashes the economy for years, that leaves Flint Michigan (and numerous other counties) without potable drinking water, that causes entire municipalities to go bankrupt, that scars pre-industrialized countries with abandoned quarries and mass graves. And ultimately elite deviance is going to kill the entire human species, drowning it in toxic waste.

    And yet elite deviance is very rarely prosecuted, because doing so is hard. Rich suspects can afford a robust defense, and thousands of convictions of innocent people who are then sent to prisons gets a sheriff or district attorney re-elected, whereas fighting an industrialist in the courts for five years does not, even though the latter ultimately saves more lives and money than the former.

    No, US law enforcement is corrosively corrupt and lousy with perverse incentives. Our officials are only glad to generate the appearance of things getting done while only contributing to the problem and ignoring others that are steering civilization toward doom.

    Our entire police system has failed. It should be disbanded entirely and a new system created, before the people turn to an organized syndicate to take over and simply do less crime than state-endorsed law enforcement.

    Now I think about it, I believe failures of authority are typical in the formations of organized mobs, once the public has realized the police don't actually protect or serve.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 7:08pm

    "It is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer"

    Benjamin Franklin

    I think somehow that ratio has been reversed by some LEAs

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2020 @ 7:15pm

    Hopefully the money is returned to the rightful owner, whoever that is.

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

  22. identicon
    n a seppo, 10 Mar 2020 @ 8:05pm

    Re:

    Really weird how the right wing totally neutered the unions pushed 'right to work' laws and drove CEO pays through the roof. And still they cow-tow to the police union. I know of a country where the police are hit with a major corruption inquiry every decade or so just to keep the barsteds mostly honest

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

  23. icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Stop pretending every issue is the sole responsibility of whatever the "other side" is from you. You're only blinding yourself to your own biases with these kinds of nonsensical arguments.

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

  24. icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 9:07pm

    Re:

    To be fair, it's been reversed by much of the public citizenry as well. Far Far FAR too many people today think it's just fine if we accidentally punish some innocents as long as that means we catch more bad guys. They're not willing to think through what that really means or look into how it actually plays out as long as they personally haven't suffered because of it.

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

  25. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 3:02am

    Re: Re:

    Actually it is their personal bubble that drives it.

    It never happened to me or someone I love, its not a big deal.
    If you are a "Good Person" (tm) they will never do this to you.
    If by chance a "Good Person" (tm) gets caught up in this, obviously it was a mistake & they will fix it for them.
    They don't bother to track the story & see how the justice system drags its feet to get to court, make it nearly impossible to get your items back, and even if you manage to win they will only offer a small portion of the total just to make you go away.

    This also explains why they can not understand why someone would falsely confess to a crime, ignoring that they kept the person for 36 hours in an interrogation room.
    They can't understand that some cops are not allowed to testify in court cases b/c the DA knows for a fact they will lie on the stand, they assume the system punishes liars.
    They see a man taken to the ground by 12 cops who beat the crap out of him, well he shouldn't have resisted by daring to ask what crime he had committed & them stomping on his head was an accident for sure... all 4 times it happened.

    People fail to grasp that what happens to other people can and will happen to them eventually. That someday they can be the victim in the story where the commenters go on and on about they shouldn't have done anything wrong or disobeyed the 15 different conflicting directions screamed at them at once.

    We all know innocent people have been executed, yet somehow there is no will to demand reviews of cases (despite us knowing about brady violations, racism, flat out lies supporting cases), no will to help those innocents who were jailed for decades for a crime they did not commit, rooting for the loopholes they use... well you weren't found "actually innocent" so no money for you despite the charges being dismissed.

    Until it happens to us... we honestly don't give a shit.
    Then we are upset & complain... and those who haven't been screwed over yet just assume you did something bad & thats why it happened to you.

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

  26. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 3:20am

    Re: Re:

    Sheriff Buford T. Justice.

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

  27. identicon
    David, 11 Mar 2020 @ 3:30am

    Re: Re:

    Guilty until proven innocent.

    And being a country with Christian values, there is always original sin.

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

  28. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 3:30am

    Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    You're describing radical evil.

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

  29. identicon
    VCRAGAIN, 11 Mar 2020 @ 4:15am

    forfeit of cash

    I wonder where all the cash GOES - surely nobody is dumb enough to believe it is not simply a cash gift to those taking it - after all if they are supposed to put it into some 'proper' location, it would be quite simple since it's cash to just deposit half of it & LOSE the rest !!!! And then the police wonder why nobody trusts them ????

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

  30. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re:

    "Guilty until proven innocent."

    Oh, no, the police will quickly show you there's logic behind their assumption and guilt - or due cause - is proven.

    It's just that their chosen tool of conviction is Morton's Fork.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 4:40am

    We Already Know What They Are - Now We're Just Haggling Price

    "...unless the defendant is convicted OR the value of the money and property is more than $50,000..."

    Still thieves.

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

  32. identicon
    David, 11 Mar 2020 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    More like "It is better that 100 innocent Persons should suffer than that one innocent Person should escape."

    Civil asset forfeiture does not require guilt. In fact, if law enforcement thinks it is actually dealing with drug dealers (namely persons guilty of the undertakings for which asset forfeiture purports to be designed), they'll come a lot more heavily armed than when they are when shaking down civilians.

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

  33. identicon
    Bengie, 11 Mar 2020 @ 5:13am

    In many states, having more than $10,000 in cash in public is illegal in and of itself. Rule of thumb, don't be an idiot carry around a ton of cash.

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

  34. identicon
    Michael, 11 Mar 2020 @ 6:28am

    Re:

    The police officer posting it had no sense of it possibly being wrong or that people would consider it theft.

    This is one of (apparently) many police officers that are so out of touch with the people that they police that there was little thought given to the possibility that posting this would have people questioning why they did something.

    This police officer is literally the Sheriff of Nottingham and does not understand that what he is doing is theft. Unfortunately, the experience is probably teaching him not that taking money from a suspect that cannot be arrested is wrong, but it is probably teaching him not to tell anyone about it because the public is "hostile".

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

  35. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    "You're describing radical evil."

    ...which essentially describes human nature.

    The utter inability of the human race to foresee the long-term consequences of its actions and act rationally in the face of short-term profit is just that part of us which has me halfway convinced the "great filter" is the hypothesis answering the fermi paradox.

    We're living in an age where even the oil companies are rallying to fight global warming while the "leaders" of the free world keep catering to the lowest common denominator. Like a horde of rats following the pied piper we're cheerfully swarming towards the edge of the abyss.

    Radical evil? No, just people being people. Arguably even worse.

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

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    Umm... nope.

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

  37. identicon
    Anon, 11 Mar 2020 @ 6:59am

    Thieves? Of course.

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

  38. identicon
    David, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    Rule of thumb, don't be an idiot and live in a police state. Emigration sounds like a solution but it only shifting the problem around. Instead engage yourself in politics (starting locally) and do your part so that your children don't have to live in such a shithole country.

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

  39. identicon
    Dan, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    In many states, having more than $10,000 in cash in public is illegal in and of itself.

    Name just one of those states, and identify the section of the state's statutes that says this.

    I'd agree that in most cases carrying large amounts of money around isn't very smart, but I'm not aware of any place in the US where it's illegal.

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

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    judge dredd

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    You talk about the human race as though it were a homogeneous unit.
    If one considers the entire species as one individual, that individual would have one hell of a mental problem.

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re:

    The riche elite ruling class is paranoid about the way they treat everyone else and are afraid of retribution, therefore they support their local sheriff who protects them from those evil unwashed masses.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re:

    much of the public citizenry? Where do you get this?
    Are you being fair or are you trying to gaslight the public?

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

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re:

    Flash bangs in cribs ftw

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:38am

    Re:

    "In many states, having more than $10,000 in cash in public is illegal in and of itself."

    Which ones?

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

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    If one were to look at us currency, it says something about being legal tender both public and private - right?

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

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:45am

    Re: 'Look at what we got from our latest robbery!'

    We already know that law enforcement does not hire smart officers. It's just another career option for dumb criminals.

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    In many states, having more than $10,000 in cash in public is illegal in and of itself. Rule of thumb, don't be an idiot carry around a ton of cash.

    How interesting! So if I'm a cash-only business, I'm fucked if I collect more than $10,000 in revenue.

    What fucking state are you talking about? (Note: the made-up one in your head doesn't count)

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

  49. icon
    urza9814 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:25am

    Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    At this point I think one of the biggest problems is that people have some twisted belief that money is always clean and always amoral....that business transactions exist in their own special world entirely divorced from the rest of reality. Just last night I spent a few hours arguing with someone who kept insisting that even if the owner and founder of a business is funneling millions of dollars that they get from that business into the WBC or the KKK or whatever, it's immoral to criticize the business because of that. You shouldn't leave bad reviews, you shouldn't call them to complain, you shouldn't boycott, you shouldn't involve the business in any way. Because apparently ignoring where the money ends up is some kind of high moral ideal. So many people -- generally GOOD people -- will sit there and honestly argue that it's actually immoral to try to avoid financing evil. And then they wonder why there's so many sociopathic billionaires running everything. WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY GET THOSE BILLIONS??

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

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:29am

    So, some alleged criminal, originally only suspected of "following too close" was pulled over, hassled into a search, and relieved of his $40,000 by state troopers. No arrest, but I guess the money was guilty of something.

    And that's a crying shame. If the guy was tailgating, they ought to have locked him up. It's an act of assault and intimidation that I'm sick of the cops overlooking as much as they do.

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

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    [citation needed] Which states are these? Reference to the statute?

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

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    It is radical, because it's a direct consequence of allowing wealthy and powerful radicals to undermine the influence of the morality which has traditionally kept the worst parts of human nature in check and replace it with a "new morality" which is nothing but immorality sanctioned by a thin veneer of sophistry.

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

  53. identicon
    tonylurker, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:41am

    "Contraband"

    Starting in 90 days, the laws will prohibit assets taken in suspected drug crimes from being forfeited unless the defendant is convicted or the value of the money and property is more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband.

    That's a pretty big loop hole. Cops can declare any money to be drug money, and therefore "contraband", unless this bill was written well enough to prohibit that.

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

  54. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re:

    Except you can't prove your innocense, since you're never properly accused.

    So the police just keep the money...

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

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    If the guy was tailgating,

    More like that was a convenient excuse for the police to stop him, and go on to search the vehicle. When traffic stops become the pretext for a search, the cops will come up with something that allows them to initiate the stop,.

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

  56. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    If the guy was tailgating, they ought to have locked him up.

    I totally agree. Hell, lock up all the tailgaters.

    Maybe once the taxpayers see how much it costs to do exactly that, they won't pitch any more stupid ideas like locking people up for traffic infractions.

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

  57. icon
    Thad (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    but there is little will by politicians to change it

    I don't know if that's an accurate statement anymore; there's been a push for CAF reform over the past couple of years. New Jersey and North Dakota have passed CAF reform bills, Georgia has one in the works, and while Hawaii hasn't passed any laws curtailing CAF their AG has released new guidelines limiting its use. Efforts are well underway to limit CAF in other states, though it's not all good news; Missouri's bill died due to the type of police union lobbying you're describing.

    It bears adding that Eric Holder also halted CAF at the federal level, though Jeff Sessions reinstituted it afterward. Which is why of course leaving this subject to the whims of the current executive appointee is not ideal.

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    Read that, instead, as: "if it will take work, on our part, to prosecute these people... then fuck it".

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

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re:

    No, he's right. Making a credible threat to hit someone is assault, and should be treated as such whether the thing you're being threatened with is a fist or a car.

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

  60. icon
    urza9814 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, but standing on the sidewalk swinging your fists back and forth is not a credible threat, even if someone happens to walk into them and get punched (that would of course be an assault once it happens, but it's not a threat until then). Driving too close is not the same as threatening to run someone over. Not even close.

    Sometimes people do it because they're angry at the person in front of them. Sometimes they do it because they're from a more urban area where typical following distances tend to be shorter. Sometimes they'll do it to read a bumper sticker. Sometimes they'll do it because they suck at driving or they're rushing to get over before missing their exit. Are you seriously going to assert that ALL of these situations constitute a "credible threat" of an impending assault?

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

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, he's right.

    No, he's a one of those dumb-assess who thinks putting people in jail for anything is a good idea. Until he realizes that his stupid ass is the one that has to pay for it. Or until he's one of the unfortunate morons caught up in his own shitshow.

    Making a credible threat to hit someone is assault, and should be treated as such whether the thing you're being threatened with is a fist or a car.

    Following too closely is subjective - unless your stupid ass is hanging out of the window with a tape measure.

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

  62. icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Guilty until proven innocent

    well duh! Money is the root of all evil, therefore all money is evil, therefore seize all money!

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

  63. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:04am

    Why is "ratioed" a thing?

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

  64. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:08am

    Re: Why is "ratioed" a thing?

    <I hate that hitting enter on the subject line posts the comment.>

    Why is there this thing called ratioed? I understand what it means, but in the grand scheme of things, does it really mean anything at all?

    Is the MSP really going to think to themselves, "Hmmm, our latest tweet is getting ratioed, maybe we should end our civil asset forfeiture program."

    Sometimes I feel that the concept of being "ratioed" is blown out of proportion"

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

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the driver does something to communicate that you're following too closely, such as flashing their hazards or their brake lights at you, and you don't back off, at that point it's definitely a threat. "Start moving faster, in violation of the law, or I will hit you." (Because it always is in violation of the law; people who are tailgating you are never content with going the speed limit. Ever.)

    Even if they have no intention of actually hitting you, it's still very much a credible threat, because it means that anything you do to slow down could cause you to brake right into them. It makes you incapable of responding to emergencies, or even to someone cutting in front of you while moving slower than you are, and they know that. And they ought to be taken off the road for it.

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

  66. identicon
    Dave P., 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:20am

    UK law

    Have you seen the UK law - "Unexplained Wealth Order" ? Sounds a similar caper:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unexplained_wealth_order

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

  67. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you're driving a car, (ie. not a truck or SUV,) there's a pretty good, objective rule of thumb: if you look in your mirror and can't see asphalt in front of the car behind you, they're following too close.

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

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 11:41am

    Re: UK law

    Not the same at all. as all it allows is for an order to prevent sale until a court hears whether the wealth can be explained before ordering confiscation. see this story.

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

  69. icon
    urza9814 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If the driver does something to communicate that you're following too closely, such as flashing their hazards or their brake lights at you, and you don't back off, at that point it's definitely a threat. "Start moving faster, in violation of the law, or I will hit you.""

    That is not being communicated clearly enough to constitute a legal threat. Personally, I would probably interpret that action as "Wait I want to finish reading your stickers"...because I have a lot of them and get a lot of reactions to them.

    "Even if they have no intention of actually hitting you, it's still very much a credible threat, because it means that anything you do to slow down could cause you to brake right into them."

    That may constitute negligence, but it does not constitute a threat. By your logic anyone drinking a coffee while they're driving is also guilty of making threats against everyone else on the road. That's not how those laws work.

    If your interpretation is correct, why did DUI laws ever get passed? Why did cellphone bans ever get passed? Why did reckless driving laws ever get passed? All of those crimes are just a form of "credible threats" and can be handled under one pre-existing law, right? All those other laws are just a waste of paper! Inspections on elevators? Not necessary, not maintaining it is a "credible threat" that will get you arrested. FDA regulations? Not necessary, unsafe food is a "credible threat". Automotive safety standards? Well, if you produce a car without seatbelts, that constitutes threatening to assault your customers! Brilliant work, now we can repeal all other laws, right?

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

  70. icon
    urza9814 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...until there's a traffic jam and the cops arrest everyone on the road. If you're doing 5MPH, you probably don't need to see asphalt at all; meanwhile if you're doing any more than 25MPH, that rule will probably have you WAY too close to be safe.

    Also, it's hard to call it "objective" when you already prefaced the thing by saying that it varies based on the car you're driving, and it also varies based on the speed and the condition of the vehicle and the condition of the driver...

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

  71. icon
    urza9814 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Why is "ratioed" a thing?

    Yeah, first time I've seen that usage...thankfully Merriam-Webster has a pretty good explanation. Although they confusingly chose to illustrate that with a bunch of embedded tweets that don't actually show the numbers they're discussing...

    I can see why this would be a thing people point out on Twitter...I do not see how it is headline news. I'm not sure I "get it" though...if my favorite musician posts a new album, am I gonna reply? Probably not. Am I gonna share it? Sure. So if everyone does that, that means they got "ratioed" and therefore must have done something bad? That doesn't make sense...

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

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re:

    Made not at the state level.. but feds (IRS) could accuse you of structuring when you go to make your deposits and then try to confiscate the cash.

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

  73. icon
    Upstream (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: “We develop probable cause in order to seize money,”

    Parallel Construction aka Evidence Laundering

    While "parallel construction" is the common euphemism for the despicable practice of concealing illegally obtained information or evidence used to initiate criminal investigations, I believe the phrase is misleading and does not have sufficiently negative connotations.

    There is nothing “parallel” about the practice. Rather it refers to a sequential process whereby illegally obtained information or evidence is used as a reason to initiate a subsequent investigation. These subsequent investigations would have never been undertaken absent the previous illegally obtained information or evidence.

    And while the term “construction” generally has positive connotations, the practice is actually very destructive. It is destroying what little privacy rights remain for American citizens, and it is also destroying what little respect remains for the Constitution, in particular, and the rule of law, in general.

    I believe "evidence laundering" is a much more accurate term, and has more appropriately negative connotations. And while the practice is clearly wrong, I do not believe it has been made explicitly illegal. It should be.

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

  74. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    objective rule of thumb: if you look in your mirror and can't see asphalt in front of the car behind you

    There's nothing objective about that at all.

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

  75. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the driver does something to communicate that you're following too closely, such as flashing their hazards or their brake lights at you, and you don't back off, at that point it's definitely a threat.

    And by "flashing brake lights" you mean hitting the brakes, causing yourself to potentially get rear-ended. Great plan. Assuming you survive, I hope it works out well for you.

    "Start moving faster, in violation of the law, or I will hit you." (Because it always is in violation of the law; people who are tailgating you are never content with going the speed limit. Ever.)

    You could always just get the fuck out of the way, since no one deputized your self-righteous ass to be a traffic cop.

    Then again, you might just get pulled over yourself for driving the limit because you're probably transporting drugs or something.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190904/13582142921/court-shoots-down-cops-assertion-t hat-driving-without-breaking-any-laws-is-suspicious.shtml

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

  76. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And by "flashing brake lights" you mean hitting the brakes,

    The brake lights should come on with a slight movement of the pedal, and before the brakes actually start to be applied. Also you you can gently touch the brakes with your other foot, rather than lifting off the accelerator.

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

  77. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    "the morality which has traditionally kept the worst parts of human nature in check"

    I would like to introduce you to this thing called history, interesting stuff.

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

  78. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 3:37pm

    The human races as a homogeneous unit

    Thirty billion dollars could feed the entire world for a year. Everyone. Period. Including freight to get it there.

    Less than that could provide infrastructure to WiFi every populated area with free-access high-bandwidth internet access, which could facilitate modernizing everything everywhere (and a few dozen Arab Springs). It could also kill the telecommunications strangleholds we've been locked in for decades. It might also end censorship by making all efforts futile.

    It could also hire an army to roll over Washington, or any other national capital.

    Billionaires are profoundly powerful, and capable of doing wondrous good that could change the world vastly for the better, and yet they don't. They run presidential campaigns. They put cars (uselessly) into space. They don't pay their taxes. The amount they contribute to charities are conspicuously small compared to either their income or their assets. Billionaires are conspicuously unambitious when it comes to making their mark on civilization...or bothering to save it for future generations.

    And at this point we're running out of commons to tragedize, though we've determined that non-point-source solutions will not save the human species.

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

  79. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 4:20pm

    The influence of morality

    The influence of morality has always been lacking. The Code of Hammurabi tried to establish proportionality of retribution, but that was forgotten by the time of Moses' Decalogue. Jesus' Beatitudes have slowed down neither crime nor war.

    In the twenty first century, the gold standard for morality is the United Nations Human Rights Committee which reviews and updates an internationally recognized charter of human rights. I don't believe any one nation consistently upholds them all, and our love for foreign refugees is consistently limited, but when we want to know what is right and proper and good, we actually have places where we have laid out a framework.

    But no, not the promise of Heaven or the threat of Hellfire keeps ordinary folk from doing wrong, especially when they are in need or in danger of scarcity (precarity from which they're called Precariats in Marxist doctrine). Conspicuously, this intersects with the defense of necessity, (the superset of self-defense, or stealing to eat), so that the threat of sickness and death might be cause to steal medication or demand care by force.

    In the meantime, it was a couple of devoted members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that developed the whole CIA torture program, and they believed it was entirely within their ethical code. Given neither has been excommunicated by the church, (nor have their actions been adequately addressed by an official statement) it seems that institutional morality consistently fails.

    As has been made clear by Trump's👑 loyal following by numerous Protestant Evangelical megachurches (who voted for him rates of 80%+, and sustain a high approval rating), sin is what other people do. And allies get a pass or mulligan. Indeed, those who criticize Trump's👑 policies are special snowflakes or libtard cucks but when Trump👑 or his supporters have hurt feelings, it's a doxxing offense.

    All the morality in the world won't stop us from being bastards. But a guaranteed good night's sleep,three squares a day and assured health-care as needed might.

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

  80. identicon
    Emelie, 11 Mar 2020 @ 6:51pm

    Standing ground, protection of property

    How come Americans cant protect their property from the police? Shouldnt those core amendments they constantly bring up override new laws like this stealing money law?? Read something about standing your ground. Doesnt that include corrupt cops?? If cops break the laws you should be able to shoot them. Stealing money no matter how you try and twist it is breaking the law.

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

  81. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: 'Look at what we got from our latest robbery!'

    When plunder becomes a way of life, men create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

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

  82. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2020 @ 12:54am

    I want to take a road trip someday to Canada's Wonderland. I have always been an amusement park junnkie.

    The problem is that there is no way to get to Toronto from the west coast without going through michigan.

    There is a way to cop proof my electronics to prevent police from being able the contents

    Android 6.0.and above has a mode where 15 failed password attempts results the phone automatically wipes and resets.

    If I decide to go to canadas wonderland, just in case any cop in Michigan decides to seize my electronics, they will not be able to access anything on it back at the cop.shop, when the phone wipes and resets itself after 15 failed password tries

    They would not be able to come back later and arrest me because there is no criminal statute I could prosecuted under for cop proofing my electronics in that manner

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

  83. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Mar 2020 @ 1:32am

    Bill of rights protecting civilians against law enforcement.

    One would think this would be important to us. Many of the indictments in the Declaration of Independence were about abuses of law enforcement, including unreasonable search and seizure from which we're supposed to be protected via the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

    But it's been long established (with incidents and studies mentioned right here on Techdirt) that the courts favor law enforcement even when the law and the Constitution of the United States does not, and so much precedent has been established that officers can engage in some pretty outrageous abuse of power and expect the courts to back them up. Evidence of crime obtained illegally, for example, will not be inadmissible if the crime in question is severe enough, as defined by our Federalist-Society-captured Supreme Court of the United States.

    Well over fifty percent of asset forfeitures (a legal device from the War On Drugs) that are legally pursued by their owners (which is to say they followed the draconian protocol necessary to demand it back) fail to retrieve their belongings and assets. And law enforcement departments profit to the tune of $5 billion a year, and it costs the public more than all the burglaries combined.

    Curiously law enforcement and district attorneys are one of the nexuses of power that need to be drastically reformed if the United States is not going to fall apart as a whole. Widespread abuse of asset forfeiture is only one of the many symptoms (and a lesser one to, for example, the immense-yet-unknowable number of false convictions that go through our court system and stuff warm bodies into privately-owned prison cells. That's a thing too.)

    Why can't we protect our property from the police? Because they still can according to law. And if we decide the law is stupid and defend our property by force (with guns), the police have more force and will totally kill us with impunity, and then still take our stuff. As it is, the public is the bitch of the police, and will continue to be until the whole system is either overhauled or torn asunder.

    And yes, like the British redcoats enforcing their will on the colonists, modern police are their own culture and community, and have long ceased to regard the public as something to protect and serve, rather an enemy to hold at bay, which has been demonstrated not just in their intraoffice correspondence but in official policy. Again, it's history that has surfaced through this website.

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

  84. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Mar 2020 @ 4:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think I'd prefer Judge Dredd. The laws itself being overreaching and abusive is one thing, but having incorruptible cops who, in the rare occasions when their brainwashing fails, do commit crimes, immediately get sent on twenty years of hard labor? That I could live with.

    Of course, having the average cop being someone brainwashed into incorruptibility by turning them into meat machines often unable to abuse the law might itself be considerd a bit fascist.

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

  85. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Mar 2020 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    "You talk about the human race as though it were a homogeneous unit."

    The effects humanity has on each other and the planet is as a result of humanity acting as a predictably homogenous unit. And the reason is simple. A very small fraction of humanity ever considers the long-term consequences of their actions and adjust their behavior accordingly. Leaving the vast majority driving unintelligent herd behavior. It's what makes it so very easy to manipulate mobs. For most people once their minds are made up they remain made up in spite of any evidence that they should perhaps change their stance. Look at how the average Trump adherent reacts - when their fearless leader ups and pulls a whopper right on TV they blame the media for him lying.

    It's one of those issues we will have to find a solution to before we manage to choke ourselves out of existence in one way or the other.

    And that's not going to be easy since the ability to criticize your own tribe is one of those things it's just uphill work to teach.

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

  86. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Mar 2020 @ 4:22am

    Re: The influence of morality

    "But a guaranteed good night's sleep,three squares a day and assured health-care as needed might."

    Which is part of the point where a little socialism is often a good thing. Morality is a luxury which always comes right behind the fundamental biological needs. The person guaranteed a place to stay, food to eat, water to drink, and health care isn't going to be too motivated to risk his comfortable life by peddling drugs, robbing houses, or trafficking people.

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

  87. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Mar 2020 @ 4:25am

    Re: Re: NOW how much would you pay?

    "So many people -- generally GOOD people -- will sit there and honestly argue that it's actually immoral to try to avoid financing evil."

    And yet Adam Smith's fundamental theories of capitalism assume, as necessary requirement that consumer goodwill is the quintessential invisible hand which keeps capitalism balanced.

    Somehow the "GOOD" people - great example of Gray's Law there - have become convinced that the equation still works if we remove half of it.

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

  88. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Mar 2020 @ 4:36am

    Re: Bill of rights protecting civilians against law enforcement.

    "Curiously law enforcement and district attorneys are one of the nexuses of power that need to be drastically reformed if the United States is not going to fall apart as a whole."

    Arguably it's already "fallen" apart. Mainly it's held together by the fact that no good geographic line exists which the various sides could agree on as a border. The US is in a far more toxic state today than what you can read was the case at the time of the civil war.

    And the government forces which should serve as glue and arbiters have become, to a sizeable proportion of the citizenry, yet another danger, not a benefit to the situation.

    Rich vs poor, orthodox heterogeneity vs LBTQ, religious vs atheist, right vs left, white vs black, north vs south. All conflicts which have been harvesting lives in minor skirmishes for some time now.

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

  89. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2020 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    Would you drive through any other state that allows cops to seize your possessions on a whim, because if you do, you might be lucky to keep your clothes when the cops their act on behalf of their frustrated mates in Michigan, and seize everything and leave you at the side of the road with no car, electronics or money..

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

  90. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2020 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re:

    How would the cops in another state know what happened in Michigan, or any state.

    Like I said, they could not come and arrest me later on for cop proofing my phone like that.

    There is no criminal statute any of the 13 Canadian provinces, 50 us states, 31 mexican states or at the federal level in Canada, Mexico, or the united states that makes it a crime to cop proof tour phone like that.

    Using this "booby trap" , as it were, to keep.cops from.getting at your phone once they get to back to the cop shop does not violate any criminal laws anywhere in Canada, mexico or the United states

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

  91. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2020 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Another good idea when driving through those states is to have a jammer that jams wireless internet.

    This is because some cops use "hacked" erad devices.

    Erad is only supposed to be able to seize funds from prepaid cards not tied to any bank account, but some agencies have hacked the devices to do otherwise.

    Using a $600 7 watt jammer solves this, because if his mobile internet is down, he cant get on the erad website.

    His browser will say "No Internet", and he will have no clue that you have deployed any kind of jammer. It will look to.him like the internet is down

    If you go this route, do keep.rhe jammer concealed. While jamming data does not break federal law in the usa, some STATE laws might be broken. So keep.that jammer well hidden.

    Jamming voice is illegal under federal law, but jamming data is not

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

  92. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2020 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Like I said there is no way to get to Toronto from the west coast without going through Michigan at some point.

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

  93. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2020 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re:

    I always have my phones security dialed up to insane levels whenever I an travelling in the Constituton Free Zone.

    That is why michigan cops can get away with what they do. Most of michigan is in that zone.

    They could get away with that on southern California if they wanted to.

    That is why whenever I have driven down to Disneyland, knotts, or sea world I have always dialed up.the security on my phone to insane levels which not only include automatic wiping after 15 failed password attempts but also another encrypted mode where the OS won't even start without the password.

    All phones with android 6.0.and above have that. Rtfm for your particular phone on what menus to use to activate those security measures

    I have done that in the past when driving down to disneyland or knott's because both parks are in the Constition Free Zone

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


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