Robert Reeves, a father of five young children, works as a construction worker and auto repairman. In July 2019, Robert visited a job site with a man who sometimes hired him to help with construction projects. Having just looked at a car he was interested in buying, Robert had $2,200 in cash in his wallet. At the job site, Robert demonstrated to the man that he knew how to operate a skid steer loader and then drove to a nearby gas station. When he emerged from the gas station, his 1991 Chevy Camaro was surrounded by police officers. The officers informed Robert that the construction equipment the man had shown him was stolen from Home Depot. Robert assured the officers that he knew nothing about the alleged theft and had no reason to believe that the other man was connected to criminal activity, but it didn’t matter. The officers seized his car—which he had put $10,000 of work into—and his $2,200 in cash.
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…