A group of 71 SC Legislators gathered yesterday in the lobby of the state house…united in their effort to reform civil asset forfeiture in South Carolina. It was a bipartisan group…lead by Rep Alan Clemmons who talked about a similar bill being introduced in the past that never in his words…”saw the light of day” after being filed. According to Rep. Clemmons the thing that has changed is the attitude of lawmakers after The Greenville News started publishing it’s investigative series TAKEN.
The TAKEN team spent two years documenting every civil asset forfeiture case from 2014 to 2016 in the state — more than 3,200 cases involving more than 4,000 people — to show police had seized more than $17 million from people. Most of that cash ended up in the hands of police, and reform advocates say that creates an incentive for police to seek profit from forfeiture. The investigation found that in 19 percent of cases no one was charged with a related crime, and in nearly 20 percent of cases someone was charged with a crime but not convicted.
Nathaniel Cary is one of the investigative reporters who worked on TAKEN for The Greenville News and joined me on The Morning Answer today.