We’re entitled not to be deprived of our property without due process of law, both under the TN constitution and the federal constitution, and nobody cares. – John Miles, Union City Attorney
May 17, 2012
There’s a state law in Tennessee that allows police to keep large amounts of cash from routine stops if they suspect it’s going to be used for drug trafficking. If the money’s owner doesn’t seek legal recourse to get their money back, the agency gets to keep it.
Nashville’s News Channel 5 has, for over a year now, been conducting an investigation into the practice, and what they’ve uncovered is utterly appalling.
According to laws, police don’t even have to file charges on the motorist to be able to seize the cash. The law has multiple police agencies competing for the money they can steal from motorists, sometimes causing conflicts between two agencies.
Take a look at this report where they interview officer Larry Bates, the cop that stole $22,000 from New Jersey driver George Reby. The driver told the officer he had a large sum of cash on him to purchase a vehicle, a statement which officer Bates conveniently left out of his police report.
In a 2011 report put out by News 5, they dissect the laws that supposedly let officers pull drivers over looking for cash.
According to the first video, after Reby filed an appeal and News 5 shone the spotlight on the criminal practice, the state agreed to give Reby his money back, sans an apology.
So I guess the moral of this story is: don’t drive through Tennessee with large amounts of cash on you, unless you want to be shaken down in a highway robbery by the very people that are sworn to protect you.