his is a sampling of stories found among the 3,200 civil asset forfeiture cases filed in South Carolina from 2014-2016. These stories were compiled largely from court records. Some other sources include reporter interviews, police records or dashcam video.
They are all very different, this trail of people targeted by South Carolina police.
An auto mechanic, the owner of a barber shop, an NBA star, a man renovating a home for a relative, a guy pulling up to a backyard cookout — carefully coming to a halt at a stop sign and confident his driver’s license is valid.
What they have in common is that we found them amid the files of more than 4,000 people snagged by South Carolina’s civil forfeiture laws. As we went around the state and examined the broken system of police seizures, we kept collecting people’s stories.