Melisa Ingram is a hardworking Detroit resident who, like Mrs. Bennis, found herself betrayed by her partner, and then betrayed by Wayne County’s forfeiture program. When Melisa’s then-boyfriend lost his job, she loaned him her 2017 Ford Fusion to get around. Unfortunately, Wayne County police officers promptly seized the car on the spot under the same law underlying the seizure of Mrs. Bennis’s car. No one thought that Melisa had done anything wrong, but she could not afford the hefty settlement required to get her car back. She permanently lost the car. As it is for many Wayne County residents, the loss of Melisa’s car was devastating. The forfeiture ultimately led her to declare bankruptcy.
Civil Forfeiture | Private Property
For decades, residents of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan have lived under constant threat of having their cars taken away and ransomed back to them for $1,000 or more—that is, if the car is ever…