Jeff Sessions Removes Restrictions on Controversial Police Seizures - NBC Connecticut
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Jeff Sessions Removes Restrictions on Controversial Police Seizures



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    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File
    This June 13, 2017, file photo shows Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, DC.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions just made it easier for police to seize cash and property from people suspected ─ but not necessarily charged with or convicted ─ of crimes.

    Sessions eliminated an Obama-era directive that prevented local law enforcement from circumventing state restrictions on forfeiture of civil assets. The technique was embraced in the early years of the war on drugs, but it has since been linked to civil rights abuses: people losing cash, cars and homes without any proven link to illegal activity; police taking cash in exchange for not locking suspects up; a legal system that makes it hard for victims to get their possessions back.

    Two dozen states have made it harder for authorities to take property from suspects without first securing criminal convictions. Three have outlawed it entirely, according to the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit that advocates for reform.