They Call It “Policing For Profit”

by Nick Sibilla

Without a warrant, the New York Police Department (NYPD) burst into the home of Gerald Bryan in a nighttime raid in March of 2012.  Police punched through walls, tore out light fixtures and seized $4,800 in cash.  Gerald was suspected of distributing drugs and taken into custody.  One year later, the case against him was dropped.  But when Gerald tried to get his money back, he found that it had been deposited into the pension fund for the NYPD.

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Under civil forfeiture, someone does not have to be convicted, or even charged, with a crime, to have their property confiscated.  Plus, under New York state forfeiture law, the burden of proof is placed on the property owner.  In other words, owners have to prove their innocence in court.

Read More: The 14 Most Ridiculous Things Police Bought With Asset Forfeiture

That clearly favors the police.  According to Steven Kessler, the former head of the Bronx District Attorney’s forfeiture unit, property owners are not charged with a crime in 85 percent of the forfeiture cases pursued by the NYPD.

As Max Rivlin-Nadler elaborates at Gothamist:

The NYPD does not keep public records of how much money or property it seizes through civil forfeiture, nor does it publicly account for how that money and property is spent or allocated. Based on the sheer volume of cases that the department pursues, experts estimate that the amount the NYPD has taken from New Yorkers over the past decade is well into the millions.

That isn’t too surprising, if disheartening.  According to the Institute for Justice’s report, “Policing for Profit,” across New York State, district attorneys and task forces obtained almost $70 million in cash from forfeiture in 2008 (the latest year available).

Read More: How a Philadelphia Family Lost Their Home to Asset Forfeiture

Fortunately for Gerald, in June 2013, he received a check from the city.  But the money was taken from the general fund, not the police pension fund.  With poor protections for property owners and perverse incentives, the NYPD can continue to police for profit.


Author’s Bio: Nick Sibilla is a writer at the Institute for Justice.  This is a re-post from IJ’s Liberty in Action blog. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of civil forfeiture, contact the Institute for Justice here: http://www.ij.org/about/potentialcase

IJ sues the government for a living, all day every day.  Like what they’re doing?  Be sure to like the Institute for Justice on Facebook and follow IJ on Twitter!





About The Author

Austin Petersen
Founder and Editor in Chief

Austin Petersen is the founder of The Libertarian Republic, as well as the CEO of Stonegait LLC. Formerly an Associate Producer for Judge Andrew Napolitano's show "Freedom Watch", on the Fox Business Network. Austin was referred to by the Judge as "The right side of my brain". He built Judge Napolitano's social networks with over 700,000 fans and millions of clicks a month. Austin graduated from Missouri State University. He has written and produced award winning plays and videos, and previously worked for the Libertarian National Committee and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

75 Responses

  1. Target4Tyrants

    Barf. NY cops better hope the people don’t get sick of their crap and start fighting back…

    • Marvin Marcelo

      unfortunately, law abiding citizens have been disarmed. hard to fight back…

      • pslinger

        It’s been the same pattern down through history.

        Registration >> Confiscation >> Tyranny

      • RavviOli

        Disarmed only with NORMAL weapons. Think outside the box. Americans by nature can be quite inventive, even if we have to go back to the old ways of doing things.

        Let Olivia Newton-John stimulate your thinking. “Let’s Get Physical”

      • anomalyjustin

        There is a simple, 2-step solution to some of this: 1) refuse to obey ALL unlawful and unconstitutional regulations under any and all circumstances; and 2) inform yourself and everyone you know who has been called for jury duty of the concept of ‘jury nullification.’ When deciding someone’s fate on a jury, do NOT only ask yourself “Does the evidence prove that this individual is guilty of breaking this specific law(s) beyond a reasonable doubt” BUT RATHER “Is the law being applied to this individual fair, just, and constitutional, and does it serve a purpose beyond revenue collection to support either a repressive government or a prison industrial complex” If the law ain’t right, a jury has a legal right (and responsibility) to disregard it when reaching a verdict. Even if you are the only juror taking a stand, at least there will be a hung jury and retrial. It about time people started doing something besides simply OBEYING…

        Everyone look up ‘jury nullification’ and fucking use it. There is a reason why courts are specifically instructed to ignore mentioning this in the jury instructions, and why people who mention it are immediately dismissed from a jury.

      • Soxfan1032

        Thank you for telling all how to get out of Jury Duty. On this I agree. Example: Are any of the regulations made law by agencies of the federal government legal? Well not really. The Constitution contains no language allowing it to delegate its lawmaking powers, yet it does it all the time. They create these agencies with “oversight” capabilities that they never exercise. That is how we have thousands of faceless unelected regulators making rules we all have to follow. So should a jury be free to nullify in cases of government abuse? Absolutely.

      • Soxfan1032

        Thank you for telling all how to get out of Jury Duty. On this I agree. Example: Are any of the regulations made law by agencies of the federal government legal? Well not really. The Constitution contains no language allowing it to delegate its lawmaking powers, yet it does it all the time. They create these agencies with “oversight” capabilities that they never exercise. That is how we have thousands of faceless unelected regulators making rules we all have to follow. So should a jury be free to nullify in cases of government abuse? Absolutely.

    • Conservativesniper

      When the shtf, cops are going to drop like flies. Thomas Jefferson said, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes mandatory.”

  2. polyduces

    No wonder they got rid of the mafia in New York….the cops didn’t want the competition.

  3. Randy Thomas

    I can’t believe people still want to live in this, corrupt city.

    • Mike Santino

      WE DON’T BUT WE CAN’T BECAUSE OF OBLGATIONS, WHAT I’VE BEEN SEEING ON THE NET WHERE THE HELL CAN I GO????????

      • Soxfan1032

        Anywhere but the liberal Northeast. As soon as the wife retires I am voting with my feet.

      • RavviOli

        Stay where you are and clean up your own mess. I don’t want you here to mess up mine, or not help me clean up mine.

      • Soxfan1032

        Well that’s sort of RUDE. Truth is I am not from here. I’m from the Pittsburgh area, and I plan on going home. One other thing. I’m a Republican. Been one all of my 63 years, so I didn’t help create this mess in the Northeast. Thanks to my job, I had to come here to live in this excrement. because my job was here. As I said when my wife retires we are going home. Don’t worry when we come home we are going to leave all the excrement behind us. All I want is a quiet piece of land and my government to quit trying to make my life “better” while screwing it up beyond repair.

      • Richard Willey

        good luck..These big mouths better help us fighters in the N.E. .Ive been fighting these bastards for many years and believe me its coming your way.. like it or not if we don’t stick together there will be no place to escape the control of the feds.

      • june coll

        Good for you Sox. I”m from NJ and we moved to SC 2 years ago and never looked back!! I can’t even begin to tell you how many people here are from NJ NY PA!!

      • RavviOli

        While you are there why don’t you try to clean it up for the next generation? RUDE you say? I am damned sick and tired of the Northern Occupiers coming down here and messing every thing up. Kay Hagan would not be where she is except for the Yank’s. If you migrated north, when you return, it wont be the same as you left it.

      • Nubby Mcquilicutty

        Can you say Cary NC. C,A,R,Y (Carolina Area Repository for Yankees)….Sorry im from Maryland but i thought that was HILLARIOUS. Rawi is right in a way. From what i saw the fast pace, garbage, and city rudeness is not welcome at all. With that said i flew the state because its full of religious nutballs…so beware of that too…

      • RavviOli

        Well I am in the Charlotte Area. Move here 50+ years ago from out west. The liberals have taken over not just Raleigh, but the whole damned state. I am one of those religious nuts that you are referring to. I will keep mine and you can keep your (or the lack of it) Just don’t tell me I offend you if I wont observe what you do. BTW The west was taken over by the exodus from the rust belt. So no going home. Now that Fox is no longer Mayor and has moved to your area, and so has Mel Watts we are at least two liberals less.

      • Nubby Mcquilicutty

        Actually if you are willing to let me have mine and you yours..your no nutball. Thats NOT what i experienced up near “Mayberry” and saw firsthand the old KKKish nonsense play out.. I bailed several years ago and never looked back. I am a true believer in the idea of very different states..so you CAN have yours and i CAN have mine…I am the type i will defend ANYONES right to live how they want as long as they dont hurt anyone else..

      • Soxfan1032

        Well I did try. I actually put my name on a ballot, ran and won. You find out quickly when you are surrounded by libs that trying common sense is like spitting into the wind. You get tired of wiping off your face. Besides that why should I stay here and clean up a mess I didn’t make? Isn’t that a liberal thing, cleaning up after someone, shared sacrifice for the good of all. You didn’t build that. Screw that. They made the mess they can clean it up. Actually I didn’t migrate north, I was sent north. It was called a high paying job. Good enough to let me retire at 58. As far as going home most of rural Pa. is Republican. That is the part I’m from. Then there is this political thing called the Pennsylvania T. It’s an upside down T drawing a line connecting the cities of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philly. Then a line from Harrisburg up to the Scranton area. Those are the Democrat strongholds. Stay away from them and you have some sanity. Trust me I have family in the area. The place is pretty much the way I left it. Northern Occupiers Really? Too funny.

      • Mykal Faircloth

        You’re welcome to come to Texas. We have the fastest growing economy in the country.

      • Soxfan1032

        I’ve been to Texas many times in my travels. Loved it. Thanks for the invite. But I am a Pa. boy. Most of my family is there. I’m also tied to the land in a way. I’m directly descended from one of the people originally granted land by Wm. Penn. That goes back a ways.

      • Soxfan1032

        I’ve been to Texas many times in my travels. Loved it. Thanks for the invite. But I am a Pa. boy. Most of my family is there. I’m also tied to the land in a way. I’m directly descended from one of the people originally granted land by Wm. Penn. That goes back a ways.

  4. Katie Keeton

    No sympathy…the idiots keep voting in those insane libtards…let them deal!

    • lungfish

      lib·er·al

      (lbr-l, lbrl)
      adj.
      1.
      a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
      b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
      c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.

      • Richard Willey

        It isn’t liberalism any more its progressivism, communism if you wish.

      • Soxfan1032

        Liberal A. Shares the world view that you didn’t build that. The government has the authoritarian right to tax you in order to redistribute that which you have earned to those who have not in the name of fairness. Very bigoted in that they ridicule and attack anyone that disagrees with that worldview. B. favors proposals and progressive ideas that history and science have proven will not work. Very narrow minded when common sense is applied to progressive thought. Rather than listen to common sense the liberal immediately makes racist accusation. C. Its easy to be a liberal, because you are spending someone else’s money, or receiving it.

      • anomalyjustin

        “favors proposals and ideas that history and science have proven will not work” –> you mean like industrial deregulation, trickle down economics and a fossil-fuel-only based energy system? or are you talking about a foreign policy based on propping up criminal Israel?

      • Soxfan1032

        Do you really believe a fossil fuel energy system hasn’t helped our economy? Really like solar and wind works on a large scale needed to supply the grid? trickle down economics? You mean supply side economics. More people especially people of color came out ahead and were raised out of poverty in a short amount of time than any other period. It certainly beats Keynesian economics where money is taken out of the economy in the form of taxes and redistributed somewhere the government feels it should. Does Solyndra ring a bell? Does the “Stimulus” ring a bell? That is Keynesian economics.Some regulation is good. I can think of a few that are stupid. The fact that you say Israel is criminal says it all. How would you like it if your state was surrounded by mortal enemies and every day those enemies were launching rockets into your cities along with suicide bombers into your restaurants synagogues and public transportation. But like the true liberal you call the victim the criminal.

      • Soxfan1032

        Do you really believe a fossil fuel energy system hasn’t helped our economy? Really like solar and wind works on a large scale needed to supply the grid? trickle down economics? You mean supply side economics. More people especially people of color came out ahead and were raised out of poverty in a short amount of time than any other period. It certainly beats Keynesian economics where money is taken out of the economy in the form of taxes and redistributed somewhere the government feels it should. Does Solyndra ring a bell? Does the “Stimulus” ring a bell? That is Keynesian economics.Some regulation is good. I can think of a few that are stupid. The fact that you say Israel is criminal says it all. How would you like it if your state was surrounded by mortal enemies and every day those enemies were launching rockets into your cities along with suicide bombers into your restaurants synagogues and public transportation. But like the true liberal you call the victim the criminal.

    • Richard Willey

      I wish it was that simple ..you are nuts if you think at some point these control freaks will not be coming your way ..In stead of ridiculing people like me that stay here at fight these libtards with everything possible,,give us a little support..If one of us comes to your state as a conservative it is because we are there to fight this blight..We have been exposed to their tactics and believe me you will need the help at some point..

    • june coll

      The problem is they AREN’T dealing with it!! Things are getting so much worse and they keep letting Barack HUSSEIN Obama do whatever the hell he wants. No wonder Democrats are resigning. They KNOW their days are numbered and would be voted out. I personally am voting every freaking one of them OUT…Dems & Reps alike. You don’t want to do your job? We’ll decide for you!!

  5. Hugh Beaumont

    The cops have solidarity; the people don’t. The cops win.

  6. Paulette Stephenson Kennamer

    do you need anymore reasons to move out of NY???

  7. Joel Stoner

    Missouri tried to solve this problem by requiring civil forfeiture funds to be given to Schools, but the Police found a loophole in the law. They now call in the local DEA agents, have them make the arrest on the local police’s warrant, then the feds seize the money, keep 20%, and give the police 80%. It’s a violation of State law, but it has not been fixed yet. I guess they could fix it by requiring local police to do their own arrests, and not call DEA for intrastate(Doesn’t leave the state) drug busts, Then they would have to follow the law, and schools would get more money.

  8. Daniel Armour

    85% of the time they seize the property without a conviction. That means they are STEALING more property from innocent people than they are claiming from legitimate criminals. I would never live in that self-important dung hole.

  9. Mark Baldwin

    This is not policing for profit…..it is stealing…plain and simple. Profit is a good word based on a fair exchange for goods and services provided. Theft is ill gotten gain….so call a spade a spade.

  10. Appelso

    This is why the war on drugs needs to end. So these corrupt cops can stop using drugs as a reason to rob and harm people.

  11. Leftbehind

    Nothing ever ceases to amaze me about the Maggoty Big Apple .

  12. KillerKali

    this is called STEALING!!!!!! If a normal citizen stole 4800 they’d be charged with grand theft!!!! this is bullshit, why do courts work against the citizens? and how do lawmakers get away with this? asinine!!!!

  13. limn

    The citizens of NYC should mobilize and take back their city.

    • anomalyjustin

      The citizens of NYC love their little nanny state enclave…

  14. Richard StJohn

    I know people who have gone through this in Arizona. The bottom line is that this is the primary reason, at least at the state level that drugs are illegal. Any sort of charge that involves conspiracy to sell brings with it the loss of whatever valuables the police feel like taking. Doesn’t matter if the case never even goes to court. If this feature of law was used the same way during prohibition alcohol would still be illegal. It took one person almost a year to get their Corvette back and that was only after obtaining an order from a judge. Best of all some cop had it and was using it as his personal toy. This is going on in every state in the country. And it is bullshit.

  15. John

    Legalized thuggery is what this is. Nothing more and nothing less!

  16. ra44mr2

    I dont understand how anyone can continue to live in a state like NY or a city for that matter with that kind of govt, i was in illinois which is just aspiring to be as dictatorial as NY and i got the hell out.

  17. ninemm

    Very odd that some of the comments seem to blame the politics of the city in this case, when in fact I believe it was those good old law abidin’ bible thumpin’ conservatives as well as the nitwit libtards that were pushing for the asset forfeiture laws that are now being abused by the costumed armed goons of the state for their own benefit. This is what happens when people are convinced that another law will solve a perceived social problem.

  18. Paul Allen

    Talk about unconstitutional. It seems that nobody in authority gives a damn though, and why should they? Follow the money and I bet anyone in government that could fight it is making too much money off of it to give it a thought. Rat bastard government pricks.

  19. peter guarino

    Once in awhile the citizens win, like when former Morris County Prosecutor Nick Bissel shot him self in the head after his forfeiture scandal was rooted out by the Feds – after it was ignored by the NJ Attorney General.

  20. Bodinky100

    They could just set anyone up. Anyone with a bit of money and some assets could be falsely accused and arrested and have their property and money taken. I bet they don’t go after rich people because they know they have powerful attorneys and will push back and hard. These middle class folk can’t do to much. How evil are these cops, when are the patriots of America going to rise up against this tyranny!

  21. Conservativesniper

    What do you expect from left wingers? Lying, and thievery are their hallmarks

  22. Joe Mosley

    I’m a 73 year old Native Texan.I’ve seen half of the world,but I’m always glad to get back to my home state.I’ve never lived anywhere but Texas,and I don’t want to.I lve in a cul de sac,in my neighborhood.Everyone else in my immediate circle,including my wife,are non Texans.And everyone of them love it here.

  23. Bonnie Howell

    this sounds too preposterous o be true… tell me it’s a mistake of info

  24. Winghunter

    Cuomo, DeBlazio, Schumer, Rangel, etc, etc, etc… Criminals from the top on down.

  25. Lance Saha

    you can run but you can’t hide ever heard that well the truth of the matter is there are states that are temporarily not in the fraternity of citizen screwing law breaking hell holes but the bottom line is unless liberals, dems, reps, conservs and whatever other labels we traded for citizenry its only a matter of time before the b.s. catches up to your town u.s.a. i know “it can’t happen in your state” those words echo unheard in the alleys of every other state that now battles corruption in every corner from the dog catcher up the problem is at the top of the food chain the govs. mayors etc. are the crumbs that fell off the washington bigwigs plate when the root is diseased its only a matter of time til the leaves wither and die such is the state of our government. there is something to be said of these political divisions (lib dem etc.) and that is you can’t fight the real problem til you stop fighting each other. enjoy your sanctuaries people however temporary they may be.

  26. Mark Sabbai

    Bill of Rights supercede local police “policies”. 4th amendment: right against search/seizure without a judge issued warrant.
    5th amendment: seizure of property with just compensation and due process.

    6th amendment: speedy trial. defense attorney. Right to obtain/confront witnesses/accusers. His rights were violated by “public servants”.

  27. handgunnar

    Civil forfeiture, AKA theft, should be prohibited under the 4th Amendment, if the NYPD could read it. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

  28. Kay

    Totally BOGUS!!!!!!! NO seized money goes into the NYPD pension fund. It is illegal. The person who wrote this story based upon the original report FAILED to include that little ditty. NYPD pensions are funded through deductions from the officers SALARY and through money that the fund and unions have INVESTED. Four Pinocchios on this story!

  29. concerned homosexual citizen

    SO WHEN DOES THE REVOLUTION AGAINST OUR CORRUPT GOVERNMENT BEGIN? BEFORE OR AFTER WE LOSE ALL OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS? BEFORE OR AFTER WE ALL LOSE EVERYTHING FROM INCREASED PRICES ON FOOD AND FUEL AND INSURANCE? BEFORE OR AFTER ALL OF THE CHILDREN ARE BRAINWASHED BY OUR NEW EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM “COMMON CORE”? BEFORE OR AFTER OUR WAR MONGERING, POWER HUNGRY, GREEDY AND CORRUPT POWERS START A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST? HOW ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT TELLING US THE TRUTH ONCE IN A WHILE? HOW ABOUT OBAMA GUARANTEEING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE “TRANSPARENT” ADMINISTRATION HE HAS BEEN PROMISING FOR OVER 5 YEARS? WHAT ABOUT THE LIES? BENGHAZI, 9/11, OBAMACARE, ETC? WHAT ABOUT THE RADIATION FROM FUKUSHIMA? OBAMA GUARANTEED THIS COUNTRY THERE WAS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, NOW WE HEAR 14 MILLION RADIATION PILLS ARE ON IMIMDIATE ORDER DIRECTLY TO Department of HOmeland Security in Maryland- and the DHS just ordered RADIATION MONITORING over MARYLAND (the location of DHS HEADQUARTERS) with helicopters allowed to fly only 150 FEET OVER RESIDENTIAL AREAS (VIOLATING FAA RULES)? WHY ARE THERE 11 KNOWN MEMBERS OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD APPOINTED TO DHS BY OBAMA? WHY IS DHS MILITARIZING OUR POLICE? WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT “GIVING” MILITARY VEHICLES TO THE LOCAL POLICE AND SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT? WHY IS our AMERICAN MILITARY FINDING REASONS NOW TO FIRE OR REPLACE THE SOLDIERS IN CHARGE OF OUR NUCLEAR WEAPONS (maybe they refused to kill Americans)? WHY DOES “UNESCO” (a contracted British company have all the AMERICAN CONTRACTS FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, METRO TRANSPORTATION OF MOST EVERY AMERICAN CITY, PRISON MANAGMENT, MANAGEMENT OF OUR NUCLEAR WEAPONS (YES< THAT IS A FACT), and MORE? BECASUE THERE IS A COUP in our own government. NOW OBAMA IS STATING CONGRESS IS REDUNDANT? HE SAYS HE HAS ALL HE NEEDS TO START MAKING THE CHANGES THIS COUNTRY NEEDS WITH A PEN AND A PHONE? CAN YOU SEE AMERICA IS BLEEDING PROFUSELY, and NONE OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE COMING TO THE AID.. IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. OUR COUNTRY IS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE. AND THE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER TO END THIS INSANITY. OUR MONEY IS A POWERFUL TOOL. STOP BANKING WITH BANK OF AMERICA, AND OTHER WORLD BANKS, BANK AT A LOCAL bANK WITH NO TIES TO HUGE CORPORATIONS. STOP SPENDING MONEY AT STORES AFFILIATED WITH HUGE CORPORATIONS, SHOP LOCALLY, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL AND PRIVATE BUSINESSES, BANKS, GAS STATIONS, ETC. OUR MONEY SPENT SUPPORTS CORPORATIONS LIKE EXXON, BANK OF AMERICA, NESTLE,THESE CORPORATIONS WANT TO CONTROL AND PROFIT FROM EVERYTHING, NOW INCLUDING WATER! AND EVER QUESTION HOW MUCH OF OUR TAX DOLLARS GO TO DUMPING TOXIC CHEMICALS INTO OUR WATER, AIR, AND FOODS? TRILLIONS!!!! AND WE PAY FOR IT ALL!!!

  30. Angel Rose Nursery

    Exactly as the Magistrates did in Salem Mass during the Witch Trials they seized property and assets regardless of the outcome of the trial and evidence in simpler terms back then if you confessed to being a witch we get your land if you deny it we get your land