Alabama Town Officials Caught In Major Scam Proposed By Jeff Sessions To Rip-Off Citizens: Report
Officials in a small Alabama town are facing a revolt from residents after it was revealed that the town mayor, a Judge, a prosecutor, and cops collude to set up a program to scam citizens out of their money, AL.com reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the police department in the small town was nearing bankruptcy due to a lack of ticket revenue. So the cash-strapped department and city council took drastic measures with an assets forfeiture program for those pulled over for minor traffic violations.
What the department would do is impound vehicles they pulled over using the state’s assets forfeiture law. It allows them to keep 100 percent of the items taken by police. The claim would be that there was a suspicion of drugs or anything they could come up with. That then required owners of those vehicles to pay a $500 impound fee, Reason reported.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been one of the greatest proponents of the controversial program. In July, he rolled back a series of Obama-era rules on civil-asset forfeiture, strengthening police power to seize cash and property from Americans without first bringing criminal charges against them, telling a crowd of law-enforcement officials: “We plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures.”
Embolden by Sessions, the mayor hired officers and worked with a judge to maintain the program. Those that were hired were often dressed in camouflage that was tucked into dark assault boots. One alleged victim was Trey Crozier, who lost $1,750 to the Castleberry Police Department.
Citizens were so furious about the program Mayor J.B. Jackson, who came up with the idea to stop and confiscate vehicles, was booted from office. A municipal court judge and prosecutor were also ousted. Police chief Tracy Hawsey was forced to resign in February.
Lead attorney Richard Nix thinks more than 100 people were probably impacted by the city’s program. “All of the belongings and alleged drugs that were seized by police haven’t been located in the investigation,” he said. He claimed that the chief didn’t follow minimal procedural requirements to perform an asset forfeiture.
One plaintiff claimed police stole $3,800 from her vehicle because they said the cash was obviously part of “proceeds from an illegal drug dealing or activity.” She still doesn’t have her car back but there was no record of a civil forfeiture request being filed.
There’s even evidence of Hawsey gloating on Facebook, according to Nix. He allegedly posted photos of those he arrested and videos showing him joking with them about the arrests. Jackson never denied the department’s program was set up to garner money and turn the department into “policing for profit.”