Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers can now seize funds from prepaid debit cards, without requiring a warrant or criminal charges.
The Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) device can be used in the field, enabling officers to quickly drain cards found in vehicles or on drivers and passengers. Officers must merely establish a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime is being committed.
To get the money back, or counter initial suspicions, individuals must prove the money was obtained legitimately.ote
Civil-rights advocates claim officers frequently abuse the system and take money from law-abiding citizens. In many states, courts have agreed that “innocent until proven guilty” protects individuals, but not their possessions.
Raising further concerns, the company that owns the patent for the device, ERAD Group, receives a 7.7-percent cut of any funds seized using the tools. A larger portion can find its way back to police departments for new gear and other expenses, creating a potential conflict of interest.
“This is a capability that law enforcement has never had before and one that is very likely to land [Oklahoma’s Department of Public Safety] in litigation,” opined ACLU Oklahoma legal director Brady Henderson.
The United Police States. What a disgrace. How can we continue to hold this country as a model of freedom to the world and allow this?