On Tuesday, CBS Dallas glorified an incident at Dallas Love Field Airport in which a 25-year-old woman traveling with $100,000 in cash had it seized by the cops in what's known as civil asset forfeiture. If you need a primer, see our previous reporting here and here.
High praise for a K-9 officer at Dallas Love Field Airport after more than $100,000 was found in a passenger’s luggage.
On December 2 the canine — named ‘Ballentine’ — alerted on an individual checked suitcase. It turns out the bag, that belonged to 25-year-old woman from Chicago who was on a layover at the airport, contained blankets and two large bubble envelopes filled with $106,829 in cash.
The woman who owned the bag was not arrested, but the money was seized and police say it will be subject to the civil asset forfeiture process.
In short, the network spun an egregious theft from an innocent, uncharged citizen by making it about a 'cute' police K-9.
The report infuriated many, maybe none more so than Twitter user 'David Burge' (@iowahawkblog), an opinionator perhaps best known for his amazing knowledge of all things vintage automotive (seriously, he's an encyclopedia).
D.A.R.E. to Keep Kids Off Cash— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 7, 2021
true story, I once sold a very nice car to a guy who drove from TX to Chicago to get it. Paid in cash, and it was... a shit ton of money. Gave me phone # of his bank in TX, and they verified that he had made the cash withdrawal 2 days earlier, so not counterfeit. I asked him if he was nervous driving 1200 miles with that much cash on him, and he sorta laughed and said, "nah, I always travel with my friend," and showed me the .45 he kept under the seat of his truck. Never asked him why he wanted to pay cash, cuz none of my business.
I thought he was nuts. Not because of the threat of robbers, but because of the threat of asset forfeiture cops. At that point his .45 would be useless, or get him thrown in jail. Or killed. And I'm pretty sure telling the cop "I'm using it to buy a car" wouldn't wash. Anyway, he was an older white guy in a pickup with a trailer, so maybe he really didn't have much to worry about. Now imagine two younger black or Hispanic guys, traveling to buy a cheap old car for $7000, and they get pulled over. Now it's asset forfeiture open season.
Fact is it's at the discretion of the cop. If you can't explain to the cop's satisfaction why you have that much money, they can conclude it was acquired illegally, and Fuck You buddy, hire a lawyer to prove it wasn't. Which will cost you more that the cash itself. And where does that confiscated money go? It stays right there with the cops, natch, so they can spend it on surplus armored MRAPs and such, a reward for keeping us citizens safe from the danger of people driving around with cash.
real Sheriff of Nottingham bullshit.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons for people to carry large amounts of cash, no matter how "sketchy" or "suspicious" or "nervous" the cops find them. For crissakes, who wouldn't be, talking to an armed bandit with a badge?— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 7, 2021
How this abomination against due process is allowed to continue in this country simply boggles my mind. I have to believe it's an issue that should unite people across the political spectrum. Who the fuck could possibly defend it as policy? Are you going to charge the suspect with committing a crime? No? The it doesn't matter how he came by the cash, it's none of your fucking business. Good day, Officer O'Greedy. And even if you are, say, like a speeding ticket, it's still none of you fucking business.
Take for example the two young black or Hispanic dudes driving to buy a beater car, with $7k cash and oops, 2 grams of weed in the glovebox. When O'Greedy pulls 'em over for speeding that 2g of weed better not be probable cause to conclude they're carrying Cartel cash.
I've been bitching about this for 20 years, and the most frustrating thing is that everyone, left and right, seems to agree with me. And yet nothing changes, because the only beneficiary of CAF is The State.— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 7, 2021
On Wednesday, Burge continued after someone accused him of a 'bad take.'
I am somewhat perplexed by the number of people in my replies who think that there is no legitimate reason for carrying large amounts of cash, that it's evidence of crime, or that it is itself a crime.— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 8, 2021
Lemme give some examples from the old car biz.
I know lots of people who make their living in antique cars, buying/selling cars, and car parts, at swap meets and auctions and such. The majority of those transactions are done in cash. "Oooh, nice old Guide headlights, how much?" "$300, cash only."
I know plenty of people who bring a trailer full of parts, rolling projects, etc., to big swap meets. At the end of a good weekend, they might have $10k, $20k or more in cash, heading home. You are crazy if you don't think they're gonna conceal it.
Now imagine a state trooper pulls them over for a busted taillight, and they make the mistake of letting the trooper search their vehicle. Because of CAF you can bet the trooper is walking away with their cash. And >0% chance he might just impound their vehicle, too.
You see, the mere fact that he had a $20k wad of cash hidden in his truck is evidence that he's a mule for the Mexican cartels and stuff. "Old car swap meet"? Yeah likely story pal, here's your receipt, tell it to the judge.
Oh, hey, no problem. All he has to do now is hire a lawyer, spend a few months convincing a kindly judge how it was all just a big misunderstanding, after which the cops and will cheerfully return all his cash, and everyone will share a laugh about the wacky mixup, freeze frame.
sorry, I was hallucinating there for a minute. There are people who buy cars at salvage auctions, or conduct estate sales, sell at farmers markets or art fairs, on and on. All have legitimate reasons for carrying large amounts of cash.
But there's no legitimate reason they should have to explain that to a cop so he won't just take it away from them. The crazy thing is that CAF has no *floor* on what might be considered "sketchy" amounts of cash. There are case of $200 or less being taken.
Take for example the young woman who had $100k in cash taken from her at the Dallas airport yesterday, or the former Marine who had his $87k life savings swiped by the Nevada highway cops a few days ago. Neither were arrested, nor charged with a crime.— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 8, 2021
But sure, let's have heroic Sniffy the Drug Doggie pose with the uncharged woman's confiscated cash that he found, because it, like 90% of bills in circulation, has trace amounts of cocaine residue on it. Rrrrufff! Help take a bite of cash!
The legal theory, as I understand it, is that the young woman might not be guilty of anything but her money was guilty of looking suspicious. And since 4A rights only apply to people and not green pieces of paper, she has the burden of proof to show her money was innocent.
Here's a contrary opinion from a professor from the Twitter University Center For Constitutional Legal Studieshttps://t.co/v7j3uFEmrV— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 8, 2021
Good thing the State of Nevada doesn't have any industries there based on cash transactions— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 8, 2021