NEWS AND VIEWS THAT IMPACT LIMITED CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
How police took $53,000 from a Christian orphanage
Thou Shalt Not Steal
Unless You Are The Government
(Poor Richards News) - We’ve talked about “Civil Asset Forfeiture” many times before. In case you’re not familiar with the term, it’s the procedure that allows police officers and other government officials to take cash from people they think may have committed a crime. And they do without due process. And even if the person is found innocent, the victim rarely, if ever, gets their money back. Often just having the cash on you while traveling is enough to create suspicion with an officer.
Well it happened to a Church band that was raising money for an orphanage and college in Thailand and Burma, respectively.
This particular story already has a happy ending, though. Likely because of the negative publicity it received, prosecutors have dropped all charges against the victim and will be sending a check.
Eh Wah had been on the road for 12 hours when he saw the flashing lights in his rear-view mirror.
The 40-year-old Texas man, a refugee from Burma who became a U.S. citizen more than a decade ago, was heading home to Dallas to check on his family. He was on a break from touring the country for months as a volunteer manager for the Klo & Kweh Music Team, a Christian rock ensemble from Burma, also known as Myanmar. The group was touring the United States to raise funds for a Christian college in Burma and an orphanage in Thailand.
Eh Wah managed the band’s finances, holding on to the cash proceeds it raised from ticket and merchandise sales at concerts. By the time he was stopped in Oklahoma, the band had held concerts in 19 cities across the United States, raising money via tickets that sold for $10 to $20 each.
The sheriff’s deputies in Muskogee County, Okla., pulled Eh Wah over for a broken tail light about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 27. The deputies started asking questions — a lot of them. And at some point, they brought out a drug-sniffing dog, which alerted on the car. That’s when they found the cash, according to the deputy’s affidavit.
…All told, the deputies found $53,000 in cash in Eh Wah’s car that night. Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said he couldn’t comment on the particulars of Eh Wah’s case because of the open investigation, but it is clear from his deputy’s affidavit that the officers didn’t like Eh Wah’s explanation for how he got the cash. “Inconsistent stories,”
…They took Eh Wah to the police station for more questioning. They let him drive his own car there, with deputies’ vehicles in front of and behind him the whole way. They interrogated him for several hours.
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.
…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.
It’s great that these people are going to get their money back. But it is a travesty that it was taken from them to begin with. Civil Asset Forfeiture is theft and it needs to be eliminated. I understand that government employees don’t want bad guys to have resources or have the ability to destroy evidence. I get it. I don’t want them to either. But the government should not assume that everyone is guilty.