Castleberry, Alabama Creates Entire Police Force from Stolen Money, Property in Legal Civil Asset Forfeiture Speed Trap Operation
The town of Castleberry, Alabama, with a grand total of 550 residents, decided one day that it needed to make more money. Remember, folks, government is not government as you might think of the word, it’s really a coercive enterprise. Its main purpose is to make money, off of you, any way it ‘legally’ can.
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So, they setup a speed trap along a US Route, in this case, US Route 31, where they knew they’d get a lot of people passing through from outside the town, even the county, even the state. The racket was simple, pull people over, ostensibly for speeding. Claim that you suspected they might be involved with some illegal activity, like drugs, and simply seize their property, their money.
The beautiful thing is you don’t even have to charge them. You can just keep their stuff. And why would you charge them and have to pay the administrative cost of filing all of those cases?
Don’t believe me? Think this sounds incredulous? Maybe you think it sounds conspiratorial? Well, why don’t you just read an excerpt from this Forbes article and judge for yourself. After you’re done, go ahead and click on that Forbes link, because there’s a lot more to this story there:
Lying on US Route 31, about halfway between Mobile and Montgomery, Castleberry has become one of the state’s worst speed traps. Earlier this year, 15 people filed a lawsuit against the town and its police chief, claiming that Castleberry police unlawfully seized their cash, impounded their cars or detained them against their will.
One of the plaintiffs is Trey Alexander Crozier, who was driving through Castleberry in October 2016, heading north to potentially buy a truck. After he backed his car out, two officers wearing camo pants and flak jackets stopped his car and forced Crozier out onto the street. Officers seized $1,500 in cash they found inside the car as well as $250 Crozier was carrying in his wallet. Police claimed it was drug money. Yet one year later, the town has still failed to file a civil forfeiture lawsuit against the property or any criminal charges against Crozier. He didn’t even get a ticket from the traffic stop.
Adding insult to injury, Castleberry even impounded the car Crozier was driving, which belonged to his mother, Sheri Manahan. To get back her 2002 Mercury Sable, Manahan had to pay a $500 “impound fee” to the town. Like her son, Manahan was never charged with a crime. Nor was she alone: The lawsuit identified at least seven other instances where car owners claimed they were forced to pay $500 to retrieve their impounded vehicles.
“The cops took every penny I had. I have no idea where my money is now. I’ve tried to get it back for almost a year,” Crozier told AL.com. Police were just looking for an excuse “so they could tow my car and take my money and belongings,” he added.