The ACLU of Mississippi supports HB 1410 because policing for profit is intolerable, even more so when the law enforcement agencies aren’t transparent about what they’re taking from people and how they’re spending the revenue generated. For years, law enforcement agencies in the state have taken innocent people’s cash and property to fund their departments, even if the rightful owner isn’t convicted of a crime. Our government agencies, especially those with the greatest authority (law enforcement), have a duty to be transparent, and the people of Mississippi deserve no less. We encourage the legislature do more than merely address the lack of transparency and make substantive reforms to asset forfeiture laws. Created during the heyday of the war on drugs, asset forfeiture laws were meant to target “kingpins” but have been perverted into an ongoing attack on poor and middle-class Mississippians. It is our hope that meaningful reform will follow.
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