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    Cops Have a New Device to Seize Money Electronically During Traffic Stops

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    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a new device to assist them with civil asset forfeiture, allowing them to seize money in a bank account or on prepaid cards.

    Last month, the department obtained 16 ERADs, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machines. The devices allow a trooper to scan a person’s cards and transfer money if the person is suspected of a crime.

    "We're gonna look for different factors in the way that you're acting,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent told Oklahoma’s News 9. “We're gonna look for if there's a difference in your story. If there's someway that we can prove that you're falsifying information to us about your business."

    According to their contract with the device manufacturer, the department paid $5,000 for the software and scanners, and will pay the device manufacturer 7.7% of all transactions. Vincent insists however, that it isn’t just about taking money.

    "I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That's a very small thing that's happening now. The largest part that we have found… the biggest benefit has been the identity theft," Vincent said. "If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," he said.

    Lawmakers, citizens, and activists point out that the devices eliminate due process and are a violation of constitutional rights.

    "We've seen single mom's stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We've seen innocent people's stuff being taken. We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent," State Senator Kyle Loveless (R-OK) stated.

    "If I had to err on the side of one side versus the other, I would err on the side of the Constitution,” Loveless said. “And I think that's what we need to do."

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    Tags:
    Civil Asset Forfeiture, ERAD, Electronic Recovery and Access to Data Machine, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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