Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget

Every year, police take millions of dollars from ordinary Chicagoans and spend it behind closed doors.

“Civil forfeiture, as the process is known, allows police and prosecutors to permanently keep any cash, vehicles, or other goods seized during a traffic stop or investigation. As long as they believe the money is tied to a crime, they can move to keep the property, even in cases like Swansey’s, in which the owner was neither arrested nor charged with a crime… After cars like Swansey’s are sold, the proceeds are split between CPD, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, and the Illinois State Police, which handles the accounting and disbursement of such funds as well as the sale of forfeited vehicles.”

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