Mississippi to begin tracking assets seized  by police groups

Published 11:15 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

JACKSON (AP) — Mississippi will begin tracking money and assets seized by police agencies and require more oversight of such forfeitures after Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 812.

Bryant signed the measure Monday requiring the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics to maintain a public website that lists all such forfeitures taken through civil court proceedings. The measure also calls for a judge to approve the seizure within 72 hours of an agency taking property, and for either the local district attorney of the Bureau of Narcotics to handle the forfeiture case in court.

Any agency that doesn’t get a seizure warrant within 72 hours would have to give the property back.

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Groups have raised concerns that it’s too easy to take money or property, even if people aren’t convicted of a crime. People whose assets are taken have to fight the seizure in civil court.