Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Philadelphia police agree to end policing for profit

Philadelphia Grants Reparations to Victims of Police Civil Asset Forfeiture - CityLab - Brentin Mock:

September 18, 2018 - "Philadelphia ... has agreed to considerably scale back its policies on when and how police can seize private property from civilians. Up until now, Philadelphia police could confiscate a person’s cash, car, or house — evicting people with little notice — if there was suspicion that the person might be associated with a crime.

"Called civil asset forfeiture and dubbed by opponents as 'policing for profit', the practice was a mechanism for padding police coffers and salaries with the funds generated from these confiscations. Meanwhile, the person whose assets were taken would have to prove they were innocent of whatever crime they were suspected of to begin a cumbersome process for reclaiming their property. In one case, Norys Hernandez almost lost her home to police after they arrested her nephew on a drug violation that she was unaware of.

"Under a new consent decree agreement announced Tuesday, police and prosecutors can only seize people’s assets under a very limited set of circumstances — mainly if they can prove that it is evidence for a major criminal case — but those seized assets cannot be used to pay for police salaries or expenses. Also under the new agreement, the victims of past civil asset forfeiture abuse are entitled to reparations.

"The consent decree is the result of a lawsuit filed four years ago by the criminal justice reform organization Institute for Justice against the city.... Philadelphia was taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s law that allowed law enforcement agencies to keep 100 percent of proceeds and property seized from criminal suspects, even without a conviction. A new state law went into effect last summer ... but it falls far short of the kind of reforms that the city of Philadelphia just agreed to, which include:
  • "Police now have to provide a detailed receipt of the property seized to the person they seized it from. The receipt must include instructions on how that person can retrieve their property.
  • Court forfeiture proceedings papers must be filed within 90 days of a person’s assets being seized or else the assets must be returned. A person can file for immediate return of their property if they depend on it to live or work — a car, for instance, for those who work for Uber or Lyft as their primary job.
  • Whereas before prosecutors controlled court forfeiture hearings, now that control belongs to judges. Prosecutors can no longer threaten taking a person’s property for not making repeated returns to court, and property owners can file for a continuance if they can’t make a hearing.
  • Instead of using seized assets to pay for police salaries or new equipment, funds will now be given to community-based drug rehab programs.
"A $3 million fund has been set up to help people recoup what police took from them, and also to compensate them for being wronged. People who submit a qualifying claim in time will receive at least $90 for having their rights violated. All cash and property will be returned to those who never ended up convicted of a crime."

Read more: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/09/policing-for-profit-in-philadelphia-finally-comes-to-an-end/570622/
'via Blog this'

No comments:

Post a Comment