Man Loses $160,000 In New 'Policing For Profit' Case (NewsChannel5.com)
Monday April 29th, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - NewsChannel 5 has uncovered a brand new "policing for profit" case -- a case that resulted in a New York man losing a $160,000 on a Tennessee interstate.
Even more startling, critics said, the case exposes a major loophole around a new law that's supposed to crack down on such abuses.
Police video, obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, shows how an Indian-American businessman from New York lost the cash during a December 2011 traffic stop along I-40 in Dickson County.
It's money that authorities would eventually be forced to return -- more than a year later.
"It does show that the government did not have a very strong case," said Darpana Sheth, an attorney with the conservative-leaning Institute for Justice.
Her organization has called such practices "highway robbery."
The cash was seized by an interdiction officer from the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force. The agency gets its funding by seizing cash -- usually from out-of-state drivers, often minorities -- when officers have suspicions that it might be drug money.
But in this case, instead of using state seizure laws, the agent from the 23rd took the cash to the feds, tying up the businessman's money in the federal courts.