'Policing For Profit' Reform Headed To Governor's Desk - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Policing for Profit

'Policing For Profit' Reform Headed To Governor's Desk

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by Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A major reform -- designed to protect the rights of innocent people who have their cash taken by police -- is on its way to becoming law.

That follows NewsChannel 5's two-year "Policing for Profit" investigation.

"This re-establishes the trust between us and the people of the state of Tennessee," said Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport.

Wednesday, the House approved the compromise on a unanimous vote.

It's designed to crack down on abuses of laws that let police take cash from drivers based on a suspicion that it might be drug money.

For the first time, those drivers will be allowed to make their case to a judge at the same time the officer asks for the seizure to be approved.

The House sponsor, Rep. Barrett Rich, R-Somerville, said lawmakers were appalled that those protections were not already in the law.

"When we were watching the 'Policing for Profit' videos, the one thing that stuck out in everyone's mind is that they go to a hearing, but only one side is heard," Rich said.

"The person who's had their assets taken by the government had no opportunity to be heard. And that is, in my opinion, a constitutional bedrock principle to have that right to be heard."

The bill now goes to the governor.

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