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This weekend, President Trump dug deeper into what his authoritarian rhetoric foreshadowed. The “Law and Order President” professed his love for civil asset forfeiture, promising to normalize and defend it. He even went as far to threaten to destroy politicians’ careers if they tried to abolish the unconstitutional practice.
As if his support for “Stop and Frisk” and registries were not enough, libertarians are now condemning these new tyrannical promises. Libertarian Party Chairman Nick Sarwark promised to make candidates go on the record about civil asset forfeiture in 2018, and called Trump’s comments “disappointing,” while pointing out that the practice itself is “immoral.”
Civil asset forfeiture is the police action of confiscation of someone’s property who has been charged with a crime. The crime can be dropped the next day, but the police department will still have the property in hand. Cash is usually taken and, many times, the police has free reign on what to do with it. Little evidence is needed for confiscation, and getting the property back to its rightful owner is difficult. Even when a US citizen is found innocent of a crime, some jurisdictions allow the authorities to keep the assets indefinitely. The practice is little more than armed robbery, perpetrated by the state.
For everyone, it is important to hold politicians accountable. For libertarians, it should be easy to see that Donald Trump is wrong on civil asset forfeiture. Contact your local representatives and make sure they stand against the President and those who defend this practice. The POTUS thinks legislators will “get beat up really badly by the voters” if they defend the rights of people over police authority. However, libertarians may just show him otherwise in 2018.
In the meantime, our civil liberties remain under constant barrage, no matter which party is in power.