Feb. 17, 2015
It had been over a year since Richard McKenzie was in a car accident that left him injured. After months of recuperation and a personal injury settlement he was able to afford to buy a new car.
On Sept. 9, the Salisbury resident was driving north on Interstate 85 toward Virginia to do just that — buy a new car. McKenzie was driving a rental car and had close to $19,000 in cash with him. The cash was neatly sorted and was still in the box the bank gave him. He had the proper paperwork for it as well as letters from his attorney.
Yet, when McKenzie was pulled over for allegedly speeding, Durham police officers seized the cash, didn’t issue McKenzie a ticket and never arrested him.
He was asked multiple times by police if he had anything illegal in the car. Each time he was asked he said no. Then, McKenzie said the officers asked to search his vehicle.
McKenzie’s lawyer, Maria Singleton of Perry, Perry and Perry in Durham, believes there is no justification for why the officers took his money. McKenzie also alleges the officers that pulled him over called him a racial slur and said he shouldn’t have that much money to begin with.
Singleton said the seizure of McKenzie’s money is called civil asset forfeiture.
Who needs ordinary bad guys when your police double as assassins and thieves?