South Carolina Politicians Seriously Considering Not Letting Cops Rob People Anymore

Cops Behaving Badly

South Carolina law enforcement has a bad habit of using black people as their own personal ATMs. The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail has exposed the shameful practice of civil forfeiture in its amazing TAKEN series. Anna Lee at the News published a chilling followup today about the town of Nichols, where cops functioned as modern-day pirates without the cool eyepatches. They stopped motorists and robbed them blind with only the merest whisper of due process.

Nichols, located about an hour north of Myrtle Beach, is a town that's been hit hard by the climate change the president claims doesn't exist. It's been in decline for a while. Textile plants closed. Retailers bolted. But it still boasted a revenue stream from tourists heading to the beach, and civil forfeiture made that stream a raging river.

The News reports that Nichols police "seized and kept nearly $50,000 from unsuspecting motorists" during 2014 through 2016. Only 358 people live in the town, which is sleepy to the point of comatose, so that comes out to roughly $139 per resident. That blows the doors off what other police departments in the state raked in. Nichols police claim this was all done to reduce crime. That is mostly bullshit.

Brandon Hamer... lost nearly all his cash when a Nichols officer pulled over his friend in March 2014. The police report said Hamer was cited for simple possession of marijuana and "voluntarily forfeited $542."

The officer gave Hamer back $42 for reasons not specified in the report.

FICA leaves you more of a cut from your own money than this cop did.

That same week, Joseph Burris lost $242 when he signed his cash over to police "because of its connection to the purchase of marijuana." He, too, was cited for simple possession and driving left of center, according to the officer's report, though no record of the charges can be found in public records.

Finally, someone is dealing with the scourge of left of center driving. A child -- if there are still children in Nichols -- might've been hurt while crossing one shuttered block of storefronts to another.

Seems like the motorists just "paid the toll" and moved on, not even bothering to contest the charges. If you're from out of town, it's probably more of an expense and hassle to return to Nichols for any followup legal proceeding. They mostly all signed waivers agreeing to forfeit their cash.

Nichols was a prime location for highway robbery. Lots of tourists pass through on their way to the beach. Many, police claim, were prepared to "party" (i.e. carry small amounts of pot that would never be used to commit actual crimes).

In March 2015, [Sgt. Keith Massey] seized $1,749 from David Jones after finding some loose marijuana in an ashtray, along with the remnants of four blunts, a forfeiture filing said. The combined weight of the marijuana was 0.70 grams, which would easily fit inside a soda bottlecap.

Nothing can "easily" fit inside a soda bottle cap. Was this theory tested in the field? Massey also stopped a guy for "speeding" and claimed to have probable cause to search his car because he smelled jazz cabbage. It's unclear how you would ever prove a cop didn't smell pot at the time of the search. America! Massey did find a shocking 2.7 grams of marijuana in the vehicle. We're not chemists but we think that's roughly less than a teaspoon. You need significantly more than that to get through Pink Floyd's The Wall. Massey walked off with $1,984 from the encounter.

Massey is an interesting case. Before he left the Nichols police force, he was honored for seizing 173 cloned credit cards worth more than $500,000. How'd he pull off this impressive feat of police work? His nose got a whiff of some narcotics in the car, which justified a vehicle search. He has a truly Fourth Amendment-defying sense of smell, doesn't he?

Thanks to the exposure from the TAKEN series, state representatives are taking action to end civil forfeiture. Last Wednesday, more than 80 state representatives cosponsored a bill that would put a stop to this awful practice.

"There are too many instances of individuals who have seen their private property seized by the state or federal government and never so much as be charged with a crime," the bill's sponsor, Rep. Alan Clemmons, told a press conference Wednesday. "Ladies and gentlemen, that's wrong."

Clemmons is a Trump-loving Republican who wears bow ties voluntarily. If this isn't evidence of a true bipartisan movement, nothing is. Let's hope it'll soon be safe to drive through South Carolina again.

[ Greenville News]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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