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The driver and passenger of a Jeep Wrangler that barreled through a group of Black Lives Matter protest in Colorado last week and was shot at said they were just lost and trying to get to a local airport before they got accidentally caught in the melee.

The speeding vehicle caused one woman to fall off the road and others to jump out of the way on a stretch of highway in Aurora, Colorado on July 25, according to KDVR, a local Fox News affiliate in Denver.

The scene became even more chaotic after the crowd began throwing rocks and projectiles at the Jeep, which crashed into another vehicle. One man then opened fire, authorities said.

The driver wasn’t targeting Black Lives Matter protesters, claims passenger Gregory Goodenough.

Goodenough was on his way to the airport to catch a flight to San Jose, California when the GPS directed them onto a highway that had been closed to accommodate the protest, he said.

‘We did notice that there were Black Lives Matter protesters on all sides of the street trying to stop traffic.’ said Goodenough in a two-minute long video posted to YouTube. ‘We then avoided any pedestrians in the roadways and continued onto the freeway. There was no police barricade that stopped us.”

Investigators are still probing how the Jeep got onto the highway when access roads were shut down.

Demonstrators surrounded the Jeep, throwing “projectiles,” using bats “to damage the vehicle,” and opening fire seven times, Goodenough said. Authorities said two people were hurt.

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Dept. of Homeland Security seized $2 billion from people without due process or crime connections

Using the Treasury Department’s forfeiture data, a new report by the Institute for Justice analyzes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ability over the past 15 years to separate travelers to our country from their cash. According to the report, while local law enforcement agencies have made bucketloads of cash using civil forfeiture laws between 2000 and 2016, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard have taken over $2 billion from people arriving from abroad.

According to the study, the top reason given for taking this money is that people brought in more money than they reported bringing. At the same time, the “available data do not indicate a strong link between airport currency seizures and criminal activity.” That’s a nice way of saying that people visiting the United States risk the same kind of corruption Americans always warn one another about in other countries. To this end, in forfeiture cases at the airport only 10% involved an arrest for any real legal violation.

It’s important to note that the idea behind being allowed to seize large sums of money—regardless of whether the person being robbed is an American citizen or a tourist—is that law enforcement is supposedly trying to stop drug and human trafficking. However, as the report notes, at least half of the cases reported by the DHS are due to “reporting violations.” 

Civil asset forfeiture reform is one of only a handful of subjects that frequently receive bipartisan support these days. However, after small steps to curb this constitution-violating practice of theft, our newest administration has very pointedly rolled back any positive steps that have been made.

Over the last few years, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has been one of the top spots for federal agencies to wet their beaks with other people’s money, making up almost a quarter of all seizures between 2014 and 2016. Also highlighted in the report are places like New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), which saw currency seizures out of proportion to the percentage of air travelers. For example, in 2016, the percentage of federal agents conducting JFK’s currency seizures were twice as many as the airport’s actual share of air travelers.

And to be clear: This practice ruins people’s lives. The report gives example after example of both American citizens and those visiting our country who have brought their life savings with them, whether it’s to start a clinic or program abroad or to try and buy a retirement home in their home country. Having all of your money taken from you by DHS doesn’t result in happy endings. If you get your money back, it comes after signing away rights, paying for lawyers, and long stretches of time where you are out of the resources that have been stolen from you.

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