Libertarian Party Solution: End “policing for profit”

This article was originally published in the Sept. 2015 issue of LP News (page 7).

This Libertarian solution has already been enacted in New Mexico.

In April 2015, Gov. Susana Martinez (R) signed H.B. 560, ending civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement in the state, a practice known as “policing for profit.” It is one of several ugly laws that have sprung from America’s failed and destructive drug prohibition.

Civil asset forfeiture allows police and prosecutors to seize someone’s property without ever charging them with a crime, let alone convicting them. Police can then funnel those assets, including cash, back to their own departments.

This is an egregious conflict of interest. It motivates over-zealous police to confiscate property where there may have been no crime. Poor minorities who can’t afford lawyers to recoup their losses are often the victims.

Libertarians call for an immediate end to tyrannical, anti-American policing for profit. No personal property may be seized unless and until the accused is convicted of a crime. Proceeds should go to a general fund, not one that funds either prosecutors or police enforcement, removing the profit incentive.

We need to follow New Mexico’s lead in every state and end civil asset forfeiture now. Poor people, especially minorities, will no longer suffer this injustice. Police will focus on real crime — not on profiteering. And if you’re a peaceful, law-abiding citizen, your assets — and those of your loved ones — will be safe.

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