Conor Fridersdorf reports in the Atlantic:
Joseph Rivers left his hometown of Romulus, Michigan, boarded a train, and headed for Los Angeles, California, where he hoped to become a music-video producer. The 22-year-old says he’d been saving money for years to make the trip and that his mother had scraped together some additional cash to help him get his start.
In total he carried $16,000.
At the Amtrak station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, men boarded the train and seized his money, leaving him penniless and without means to go on to L.A. or return home.
They were federal employees.
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Federal-law enforcement officials frequently seize money and other property at the point of a gun from Americans who’ve neither been charged nor convicted of any crime. The term meant to give this a veneer of legitimacy is “civil-asset forfeiture.” That day in New Mexico, it was the…
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