Police Have Taken Over $2.5 Billion in Cash From Civilians Who Weren’t Even Charged With a Crime

Sunday, John Oliver dedicated his main story on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” to explaining civil forfeiture, a “shady process” that police departments across the country have been using to seize property, including cash, houses and vehicles, with little justification. It’s gotten so absurd that some officers are using the money they’ve procured in seizures to buy—brace yourselves—a margarita maker and a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine.

As Oliver puts it, this kind of brazen power abuse with no ramifications or regulations is the sort of stuff we laugh at other countries for allowing. And though some situations that have resulted from the process, including an art gallery funk night gone wrong, may seem hilarious, the “Last Week Tonight” host is right to say it’s time to “take a hard look at reforming [civil forfeiture].”


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