South Carolina police seized more than $17 million over a three-year period according to a comprehensive joint investigation by the The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail.
The news outlets scoured roughly 3,200 civil asset forfeiture cases across South Carolina. The results, the reporters say, "yielded a clear picture of what is happening: Police are systematically seizing cash and property—many times from people who aren't guilty of a crime—netting millions of dollars each year."
Nearly a fifth of the 4,000 people who had their property seized by South Carolina police between 2014 and 2016 were never arrested nor even charged with a related crime. Under typical civil asset forfeiture laws, police can seize cash, cars, houses, and other property suspected of being connected to criminal activity even if the owner is never convicted of a crime.