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    12 More Ridiculous Things Police Bought With Forfeiture Money

    Under "civil forfeiture" laws, cops don't need to convict you, or even accuse you of breaking the law, to take your stuff!

    Many states let police and prosecutors keep at least a portion of the proceeds from forfeiture. So that means they have a huge incentive to police for profit.

    It's not limited to states either. The feds have a civil forfeiture program called "equitable sharing," where 81 percent of the property taken was from people who were never charged with a crime.

    So thanks to forfeiture, law enforcement has been on a spending spree, buying all sorts of ridiculous things like:

    12. A Clown

    Via commons.wikimedia.org

    Send in the clowns (Not pictured: Sparkles).

    An Ohio police department spent $225 in equitable sharing money to hire “Sparkles the Clown” to paint kids’ faces. Reminderville Police Chief Jeff Buck defended hiring Sparkles in an interview with The Washington Post: “The money I spent on Sparkles the Clown is a very, very minute portion of the forfeited money that I spend in fighting the war on drugs.”

    11. Tickets to See CeeLo Green

    Julio Enriquez / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia spent $250 in forfeiture money on tickets to see Cee Lo Green and NBA player Howard Johnson at a “Celebrity Basketball Showcase.”

    10. Popcorn Maker

    Via i.imgur.com

    The DA's Office for Shelby County, Tex. once spent $524 in forfeiture funds on a popcorn machine.

    9. Whistles Plated With Gold

    Via thenewphiladelphia.com

    The DA’s Office in Dallas County, Tex. spent $617 of asset forfeiture to buy 650 gold-plated whistles.

    8. BBQ and Pizza

    Via i.imgur.com

    A DA's Office in Kansas spent $967 on Godfather's Pizza and more than $1,000 on barbecue catering, using county drug forfeiture funds. In fact, that office spent nearly $12,000 of those funds on meals.

    7. Office Softball Team

    Via playmakeronline.com

    The DA’s Office for Fulton County, Ga. used forfeiture—$2,400 worth—to fund an office softball team.

    6. Fine Dining

    Via commons.wikimedia.org

    The Fulton County DA’s Office also spent $1,600 in forfeiture funds on rib eye steak and $3,200 on a holiday awards party where guests dined on “sirloin tip beef roast, roasted turkey breast and mini-crab cakes with champagne sauce.”

    5. Ski Resort Trip

    Via i.imgur.com

    The Mesa County Sheriff's Office in Colorado sent 20 lawyers to a ski resort conference, costing more than $8,400 in equitable sharing funds.

    4. A GoCart

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Police in Norcross, Ga. spent $9,750 in equitable sharing funds on a GoCart.

    3. Hawaiian Vacation

    Via commons.wikimedia.org

    Six members of the Metro Gang Strike Force in Minnesota spent almost $17,000 to flee that frozen tundra and head to a six-day conference in Hawaii. According to the Star Tribune, “the trip was paid for with forfeited money seized by the strike force.” The state later shut down the force. And now Minnesota requires a criminal conviction before the government can take people’s property using civil forfeiture.

    2. Political Campaigns

    Via s3.amazonaws.com

    Down in Webb County, Tex., the sheriff’s office used over $33,000 in forfeiture funds to buy newsletters and TV commercials, “which were criticized as re-election tools,” according to NPR. And a former DA in Brooklyn has been accused of spending more than $1 million of state asset forfeiture funds on a political consultant.

    1. Fast Cars

    Via media.giphy.com

    The Washington Post found that police departments have used equitable sharing funds to purchase dozens of "new and used sports and luxury cars, including at least 15 Mercedes, a dozen Mustangs, a handful of BMWs and two Corvettes."

    Bonus: See even more ridiculous things cops bought with asset forfeiture in this video:

    View this video on YouTube

    Institute for Justice / Via youtube.com

    You can even see if police in your hometown have been spending (and maybe even misusing) federal forfeiture money. As part of its investigative reporting, The Washington Post has published more than 43,000 equitable sharing forms online in a searchable database.

    Let us know what you find in the comments below!

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