D.C. police have made plans for millions of dollars in anticipated
proceeds from future civil seizures of cash and property, even though
federal guidelines say “agencies may not commit” to such spending in
advance, documents show.
Since 2009, D.C. officers have made more than 12,000 seizures under
city and federal laws, according to records and data obtained from the
city by The Washington Post
through the District’s open records law. Half of the more than $5.5
million in cash seizures were for $141 or less, with more than a
thousand for less than $20. D.C. police have seized more than 1,000
cars, some for minor offenses allegedly committed by the children or
friends of the vehicle owners, documents show.
When D.C. police
seize cash or property under District law, the proceeds go into the
city’s general fund. But proceeds of seizures made under federal law go
directly to the police department through the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, which allows local departments to join with federal agencies in forfeitures and keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds.