You can’t make this up.
The FBI is normalizing the concept of civil asset forfeiture by using videos with cute puppies.
On June 25, 2019, the FBI tweeted a video of cute puppies to sell people on the idea of draconian civil asset forfeiture laws. In the tweet it stated, “civil forfeiture laws are helping the FBI and its partners get dogs rescued from dogfighting rings positioned to be treated, rehabilitated, and moved into better situations.”
Civil forfeiture laws are helping the FBI and its partners get dogs rescued from dogfighting rings positioned to be treated, rehabilitated, and moved into better situations.
— FBI (@FBI) June 25, 2019
Such cute imagery may make people have second thoughts about civil asset forfeiture, but when we dig deep into this practice, we realize that it’s legalized theft by another name.
It’s no secret that civil asset forfeiture is one of the most polemical issues in America. In sum, it’s “a process by which the government can take and sell your property without ever convicting, or even charging, you with a crime.”
Because civil asset forfeiture is a strictly civil matter, defendants do not have the same protections as criminal defendants. Even if an individual is not found guilty of a crime, this does not guarantee that the government will return their property. Indeed, no one likes high taxes, so municipal governments and their law enforcement counterparts will get crafty in finding ways to raise revenue for the government.
Civil asset forfeiture is the go-to strategy for cash-strapped municipalities to collective revenue when conventional tax-raising methods may not be politically convenient. This has been a lucrative endeavor for law enforcement agencies, who’ve pocketed a cool $4.5 billion from this practice in 2014.
Under civil asset forfeiture, the state can seize items such as cars, cash, and real estate are all fair game. These items can be confiscated merely on the suspicion that an individual used them while committing a criminal act. Due process is not respected because of the fact that criminal convictions are not necessary for property to not be seized.
The FBI’s publication of this video may appear cute, but it’s nothing but propaganda. It ultimately gives a blatantly unconstitutional practice a rosy image. We must see through this ruse and understand that civil asset forfeiture must be put to an end if we want to live in a truly free society.