This week, Reason published an article titled “Poor Neighborhoods Hit Hardest by Asset Forfeiture in Chicago, Data Shows”. Based on documents provided by Lucy Parsons Labs, Reason analyzed over 23,000 civil asset forfeitures over the past five years. These documents are the result of many months of LPL investigating the demographics of civil asset forfeiture after our larger investigation with Joel Handley in the Chicago Reader.
In a statement to Reason, Lucy Parsons Labs writes:
"This data shows what we already know, that the seizures tried by CCSAO [Cook County State's Attorney Office] overwhelmingly steal the possessions of poor people. The data shows that the seizures are clumped in the South and West side, in overwhelmingly African-American neighborhoods. This provides more evidence that the war on drugs is a racist policy that must be ended."
We believe these investigations provide further support for SB 689: the Seizure and Forfeiture Reporting Act in Illinois. The Lab has come to find out that local police forces are pushing back on this bill, which provides even more reasons for adopting it and we should resist efforts to make it less effective. We invite you to explore the data yourself and also read Radley Balko’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post.