By now you’ve probably heard about civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow law enforcement to seize cash and belongings on the mere suspicion that they may be connected to illegal activity. No criminal conviction is required to seize these assets, and in most cases, taking the government to court to get your money back will cost more than what was lost.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the state of Oklahoma has made this situation even worse. Police agencies in that state are now equipped with ERADs, or “Electronic Recovery and Access to Data” machines. These devices are capable of confiscating any money you have on a prepaid debit card, and they can also scan ordinary debit and credit cards, giving the officer some of the information on those cards. Which begs the question, will they be able able to pilfer your bank account from the side of the road in the near future?
While Oklahoma officials are confident that the ERADs will be used responsibly, State Senator Kyle Loveless, who has tried to change Oklahoma’s civil forfeiture laws, isn’t so sure. “Law enforcement’s going to say that there are good uses for it and that they use it on a limited basis, but this is deja vu all over again. We heard that last year and we’ve seen innocent people’s stuff taken. We’ve seen how [law enforcement] spins it and it’s just not right.”
To top it all off, these devices are ridiculously expensive. There are now 16 ERADs in use in Oklahoma, each of which costs $5,000, plus $1,500 for training. The manufacturer also receives 7.7% of all funds that are confiscated. With that much money in the hole, surely the police in Oklahoma will have an extra incentive to “make” the money back.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .