The war on drugs should be renamed the sanction of police abuse. In their eternal search for drugs police officers have been sanction with a great number of easily abusable powers, such as destroying private property in an attempt to find drugs:
The instrument cluster and leather dashboard were gone. The caramel-colored seats were torn up. The gear shift was ripped out and stray wires hung limp everywhere. Geico, Richardson’s insurance company estimated the damage at $12,636.42 — more than he paid for the car — and declared the vehicle a “total loss.”
According to police reports, the damage to the black BMW 325i came in the aftermath of a traffic stop during which officers detected a “strong odor of raw marijuana” inside the vehicle. Searching for a cache of drugs, members of three different police agencies and a detective from a federal drug task force spent two days tearing the car apart, the reports said.
So what did police find after their $12,000 search?
The destruction of this car was made possible because an officer pulled the driver of the BMW over and claimed his
spidy keep cop senses detected the smell of marijuana. An officer can only search your vehicle if they have a warrant or probable cause but the war on drugs has essentially made probable cause any cockamamy excuse a police officer can think up. All an officer must do is claim he could smell drugs and it’s an instant sanction to search the vehicle. While I lack a time machine to directly interview the authors of the Bill of Rights I’m pretty sure the destruction of this car would qualify as an unreasonable search and seizure.
Truth be told there is a chance that Geico may have a rare chance to bring a case against the police for their actions but it will only come at taxpayer expense. Even if you win a case against the police you still loose because you’re only getting your tax money back. The officers who destroyed the car are effectively immune from lawsuits and thus have no fear of being sued. What a brilliantly designed system, the state gets away with anything it wants and may return some of our money if they decide they went too far.