Greenville Online – In South Carolina, civil forfeiture targets black people’s money most of all, exclusive investigative data shows“. The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail examined these cases and every other court case involving civil asset forfeiture in South Carolina from 2014-2016. Our examination was aimed at understanding this little-discussed, potentially life-changing power that state law holds over citizens — the ability of officers to seize property from people, even if they aren’t charged with a crime. The resulting investigation became TAKEN, a statewide journalism project with an exclusive database and in-depth reporting. It’s the first time a comprehensive forfeiture investigation like this has been done for an entire U.S. state, according to experts. The TAKEN team scoured more than 3,200 forfeiture cases and spoke to dozens of targeted citizens plus more than 50 experts and officials. Additionally, the team contacted every law enforcement agency in the state.
This yielded a clear picture of what is happening: Police are systematically seizing cash and property — many times from people who aren’t guilty of a crime — netting millions of dollars each year. South Carolina law enforcement profits from this policing tactic: the bulk of the money ends up in its possession…That money adds up. Over three years, law enforcement agencies seized more than $17 million, our investigation shows…”