Last week we reported that Nebraska had outlawed “civil forfeiture” without a conviction. The police can no longer just take your stuff in that state. Unfortunately we also had to note that there were still 41 other states in which civil forfeiture was legal. Oklahoma is one of these states.
(From the Washington Post)
Eh Wah tried to explain himself, but he had difficulty because English isn’t his first language. He says he had a hard time understanding the officers, and they had a hard time understanding him. He told them about the band and his role with it and how he had been entrusted with the cash. He even had the officers call one of the band’s leaders, Saw Marvellous Soe, who had decamped to Miami while the band was on a break…
…After that phone call, Eh Wah began to realize that no matter what he did or said, he wouldn’t be able to satisfy the officers’ questions. “I realized that they were seizing all of the money. I was like, ‘This can’t be happening.’ But I didn’t know what to do.”
The officers ended up taking all of the money — all $53,249 of it. “Possession of drug proceeds,” the property receipt reads. But they let Eh Wah go. They didn’t charge him with a crime that night, instead sending him back on the road about 12:30 a.m., with the broken tail light.