Monday, December 25, 2017

How members of the Council voted on Civil Forfeiture (policing for profit)
Dave Rosenberg
Civil forfeiture is a process that allows the police to seize a person's property without the person having been convicted or even charged with a crime. To get the property back one must go to court and prove that they were not in procession of your property for the purpose of committing a crime.  Often it will come about that the police stop a car for a traffic violation and the owner gives the police permission to search the car or the police search the vehicle under probable cause. 

Upon searching the vehicle, the police discover the driver has $5,000 in cash.  They can confiscate the vehicle and the car.  It may be that the person was on his way to Florida to buy cocaine, but he may have been on his way to Florida to rent a truck and buy a truck load of landscape plants for a work project.  In any case, the person who had his property confiscated, in order to get it back must go to court and prove he was not in procession of the cash and the vehicle to commit a crime.  This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Often people do not have the means to wage the legal battle and just lose their property.

The confiscated money often flows to the police department rather than the treasury of the jurisdiction and this process has earned the name of  "policing for profit." Normal jurisprudence in America assumes one is innocent until proven guilty; this is the one circumstance where that does not apply.  Instead of the police proving one committed a crime, the person suspected of illegal activity has to prove he is innocent.  He may never even be charged with a crime and never regain ownership of his property. Both liberal and conservative civil liberty advocates included the ACLU and organization such as The Institute for Justice are fighting against civil forfeiture.

On November 7, 2017 the council had before it RESOLUTION RS2017-920  which would approve two agreements between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Metro Nashville Police Department. These agreements would govern the participation of DEA Nashville District Office Task force participants in the United States Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program. Councilman Dave Rosenberg spoke against the resolution and argued Metro should not participate in this program.  To view the discussion see timestamp 2:35:10 in the video at this link

Unfortunately the bill was approved by a vote of 16 to 15 with four abstentions.  Below is the result of the roll call vote.

Voting YES to approve Resolution RS2017-920. Voting in favor of Civil Forfeiture

Nick Leonardo, District 1                 Brenda Haywood, District 3         Bill Pridemore, District 9
Doug Pardue, District 10                  Larry Hagar, District 11                Steve Glover, District  12
Holly Huezo, District 13                  Jeff Syracuse, District 15              Mike Freeman, District 16
Mary Carolyn Roberts, District 20   Russ Pulley, District 25                Tanaka Vercher, District 28
Karen Johnson, District  29              Jason Potts, District  30                Jacobia Dowell, District 32
Antionette Lee, District  22

Voting NO, a vote against Resolution RS2017-920. Voting against Civil Forfeiture
John Cooper, At-large                     Jim Shulman, At-large                Scott Davis, District 5
Bret Withers, District 6                   Anthony Davis, District 7           Nancy VanReece, District 8
Burkeley Allen, District                  Freddie O'Connell, District 19    Ed Kindall, District 21
Mina Johnson, District  23              Kathleen Murphy, District 24      Jeremy Elrod, District 26
Davette Blalock, District  27           Fabian Bedne, District 31            Dave Rosenberg, District 35

Voting "ABSTAIN"  
Erica Gilmore, At-large                  Bob Mendes, At-large                  Sharon Hurt, A-large
Angie Henderson, District 34 
DeCosta Hastings, District 2        Robert Swope, District 4                 Keven Rhoten, District 14
Colby Sledge, District 17             Sheri Weiner, District  22                                      

Please note that Minutes show the only one absent from this meeting was Robert Swope. The others may have been there at one time and stepped out of the room, not paying attention, or simply chose not to vote.

If any member of the Council would like to explain their vote, they may leave a comment.
If you are unsure who your councilman is follow this link to find out and look for "Council District Look Up" at the top right hand side of the page.  You may also contact your council from this page. 

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