On HBO’s Last Week Tonight Sunday, show host John Oliver mocked a little-known law that grants police the right to seize private property and assets based on a mere suspicion that any of it is being used for illegal activity.
The ACLU argues that the law acts as an incentive for officers to seize property, especially cash, as it can be used for police office salaries and “perks.”
Last Week Tonight aired a clip from a 2012 citizen police review board hearing in Columbia, Mo., wherein a police officer testified that money seized under the civil forfeiture law is often viewed as “pennies from heaven” and is used to buy “toys” for the police department.
“That’s right, they buy ‘toys’ with ‘pennies from heaven,'” said Oliver. “But they should know those pennies may not be falling from heaven, so much as from the pockets of the people they’re holding upside down and shaking.”
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[Photo via HBO/screen grab]
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