In this segment from the most recent Last Week Tonight, John Oliver is pissed that the police have a legal mechanism by which they can seize your money for essentially no reason, and then use it for whatever they want, with virtually no limitations.

Since 9/11, civil asset forfeiture has been exploited to the tune of 2.5 billion dollars in 62,000 seizures—and that's just the cash. The procedure can also be used in a civil court case against anything you own, as long as law enforcement suspects it has been—or could be—used in a crime.

You don't have to actually be charged with anything, because that would make too much sense, but you do have the burden of proving your possessions are innocent.

Which is not to say that civil asset forfeiture is pointless and terrible—it's been used to seize drugs from cartels and return stolen property to its owners—just that its low standard of evidence makes it really easy for cops to abuse. (And Oliver doesn't get into this, but it's a lot more likely to be used against you if you're black.)

But what, you ask, would be their incentive for doing so? Pure, spiteful bullying? Nope! "The problem is," Oliver explains, "that many police departments are allowed to keep most, or all, of the money they seize."


Also in this Last Week Tonight segment: Security tape of police raiding a Detroit art museum's monthly "funk night" and a guest appearance by Jeff Goldblum. The new Daily Show has really hit its stride.

[h/t Last Week Tonight]