Why Did Authorities Keep Her Car After George Floyd’s Murder?

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Zain Murdock
May 2, 2024

The day police killed George Floyd, his friend, Sylvia Jackson, had loaned him her car. Hoping to lift his spirits, she sent him on an errand, suggesting they grill for Memorial Day. But he didn’t come back. And, four years later, authorities claim they’re still keeping Jackson’s car as “evidence” in an “active criminal investigation.”

Jackson had moved out of her home after the murder. The memories were too painful. She and her three daughters are staying with a friend. She lost her job this year. And without transportation, it’s been hard to find another one. Jackson refused to exploit the death of her friend for money. But the criminal legal system had no problem exploiting her, like many others.

Authorities could have given Jackson money to rent a new car. Community members could have crowdfunded. And, to her relief, after local news shared her story, she finally got her car back.

But civil asset forfeiture still enables cops to keep or sell crime-involved property. In 2014, a study recorded that cops stole billions from civilians, much more than burglars did. This is how the system punishes victims, loved ones, and entire families like Jackson’s, who are already grappling with trauma, media scrutiny, and often criminalization themselves.

Legal or not, policing exploits us at our most vulnerable. It steals our time, resources, and lives. And it shouldn't.

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