From [HERE] Police in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs seized $150 million over the past five years. Those seizures were heaviest in low-income neighborhoods, according to public records.
Law enforcement in Cook County, which includes Chicago, seized items from residents ranging from a cashier's check for 34 cents to a 2010 Rolls Royce Ghost with an estimated value of more than $200,000. They also seized Xbox controllers, televisions, nunchucks, 12 cans of peas, a pair of rhinestone cufflinks, and a bayonet.
Altogether, police in Cook County performed 23,065 seizures between 2012 and 2017 using asset forfeiture, including 5,939 vehicles. Chevrolet Impalas, among the most popular rental cars in the U.S., were the model most often seized. About three-quarters of all seizures occurred in Chicago. The average estimated value of a seizure was $4,553, while the median value was $1,049. About three-quarters of all seizures were cash, not property.
Lucy Parsons Labs, a police accountability nonprofit in Chicago, obtained the data from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office (CCSAO) through a public records request and provided them to Reason. The data are unique because they include not just when and what police seized, but addresses of where those seizures occurred.
Civil liberties groups have often claimed asset forfeiture disproportionately impacts poor and minority communities. When these police seizure locations are mapped, it shows that, although seizures happened nearly everywhere in Chicago and the surrounding area, low-income neighborhoods like the South Side and West Side were more frequently the targets of asset forfeiture. [MORE]