Deputy Dove And Policing For Profits: Nevada County Settles Cases Where Drivers Were Stripped Of Cash But Refuses To Charge Or Fire Officer

web1_web1_WEB_rgb_Lee_DoveI have been writing recently about police forfeitures on highways and how it has become a source of new revenue for departments despite questions of pretext stops and probable cause. Humboldt County has now settled a variety of cases where police took money without any connection or plausible suspicion of a crime. One such seizure was captured on tape and it is a chilling example of what is called “policing for profit.” Las Vegas is a perfect place for this technique since people drive around with a lot of cash. The video captures Humboldt County Deputy Lee Dove confronting one witness by taking his cash and asking “That’s not yours, is it?” The driver responds ‘That’s mine” and Dove simply declares “Well, I’m seizing it.”

In another video, Dove is shown trying to coerce a motorist, Tan Nguyen, to simply walk away for $50,000. Nguyen was stopped for going 3 miles over the speed — a typical pretextual stop. These pretext stops have become commonplace after the Supreme Court refused to question the motive of such stops. Many civil libertarians condemned the Supreme Court in its decision in Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996), where it refused to consider whether a stop was clearly based on a pretext in judging the constitutionality of the later search. We have seen abusive searches in such stops in past cases. As with Deputy Dove, police often use dogs to alert on the smell of the money and proclaim them drug proceeds. However, studies have shown that a high percentage of money in circulation has drug residue — making the dog a guaranteed justification for a search and seizure.

3603625_GIn this video, Dove can be seen immediately alleging that “I just smelled weed. I know I did. I know I smelled weed.” Of course, there is no weed in the car but there is $50,000 in cash and $10,000 in cashiers checks. Dove announces that he is taking the money and adds “Everyday I do this. It’s all I do for a living. It’s drug interdiction and I get money.” There is no arrest. There is not even a ticket. Dove stops the car, strips the man of his money, and walks away. However, he pressures the man to sign a waiver to make it all legal and allow him to keep the money. He adds “With everybody, that’s what I do because they don’t want the problems or the headaches so they abandon the money. They take what they’ve got in their wallet, or in this case cashiers checks, and they bolt.”

Another man reported that he had just $2,400 (hardly a suspicious amount in Vegas) for a trip where he was looking for a job. He then ran into Deputy Dove who took the cash without a charge or ticket.

While there is no charge, Dove makes it clear that they are guilty in some of these exchanges:

Driver: “I mean, you have no right to take this money.”
Deputy Dove: “Yes, I do.”
Driver: “I haven’t done anything.”
Deputy Dove: “Yes, you have. I believe you have. I believe you have, ok.”

In the case of Tan Nguyen, Dove does not even get consent to search. He just goes into the car and does not initially respond when Nguyen asks him why he is searching his car. Dove then says “Because I’m talking to you… well, no, I don’t have to explain that to you. I’m not going to explain that to you, but I am gonna put my drug dog on that. If my dog alerts, I’m seizing the money. You can try to get it back but you’re not.” Nguyen tries to explain that the won the money in Vegas but Dove shrugs it off and says “Good luck proving it. Good luck proving it. You’ll burn it up in attorney fees before we give it back to you . . . It’s your call. If you want to walk away, you can take the cashiers checks, the car and everything and you can bolt and you’re on your way. But you’re gonna be walking away from this money and abandoning it.”

Now here is the part that you were probably expecting. After settling these cases, the police department has not charged or fired Dove. There is not even a statement that Dove has been disciplined. Nothing. A police officer abuses drivers and coerces them to sign away money, but the officer is considered fit for service.

Not that long ago, I wrote a column on the increasing use of our roads by police to mine for cash and property to seize from vehicles. We have also discussed this trend in various blog columns. Police departments appear addicted to drug money and they are using false sobriety checkpoints and pretextual stops to search vehicles for cash and property to seize. They get to keep much of these funds and Dove appears a big “earner” for Humboldt County. He proved correct in one sense. The drivers were forced to get a lawyer and litigate the claims before the county turned over its ill-gotten gains . . . and nothing appears to have happened to Deputy Dove.

Source: 8NewsNow and Forbes

Kudos: Michael Blott

34 thoughts on “Deputy Dove And Policing For Profits: Nevada County Settles Cases Where Drivers Were Stripped Of Cash But Refuses To Charge Or Fire Officer”

  1. The reason this is a rip-off is that they take your money, and then do not credit payment. There are not a lot of folks who keep the money order receipts, especially after many years, and one will not know that they did not credit you until you apply for a license renewal.

  2. This is the real reason police do not want to end the war on drugs. They get taxpayers money to take the taxpayers money. Win/win!

  3. Man, I thought they all did that. It’s been standard operating procedure in a very small WV town near here for ages. They fine you on the spot for what you have, except for a buck or 2… Lots of fines like $18, $23.50, $37. Except for the guy in the Merc who gets, like a $142 whopper or something. People sure don’t speed through there though…. or urinate in public… seems the same fine system works for that too. I’ve heard… You would be challenged to find a more leisurely driving pace anywhere. Interesting how the immediacy of the punishment seems to make for more adherence to the law though.

    1. shohrss, There is another scam the authorities in WY pull to rip off out of state drivers. I found out about this from my wife’s friend who had her drivers license and purse stolen and let her license lapse. When she went to get a new license, she was not able to do so because she had an unpaid speeding ticket from 10 years ago in WY. She had paid the ticket, but the city did not credit it and she did not have the money order receipt to prove it. Then WY had a hard time even finding the ticket and she spent weeks tracking it down. She finally had to pay the fine AGAIN in order to get her license.

      Since this is a legal blog, I need to know if you disregard the instructions to send only a money order and send a personal check instead, will that be sufficient legal proof of payment for a fine? Can the state reject a personal check for payment for out of state folks? I could understand if the check bounced that would be considered a crime, but can they reject a valid check for payment?

  4. Should we be surprised to learn that far too many police are dishonest, even criminals? It’s not news to me!

  5. You are lucky that the voters were able to get rid of the crook. In most areas in Texas, the voters will simply vote GOP and care less about who it is. The prime example is the Chief Justice of the Criminal court of Appeals, Sharon Keller. She took large number of expensive gifts, did not report them, basically refuses to grant any appeals despite overwhelming evidence to justify it, and was sanctioned by the judicial review panel for her conduct. She won re-election handily.

  6. This is an extreme example of the saying, “All Americans are born with constitutional rights but only those with money can afford to use them.” In Fort Worth, Texas they had a prosecutor who continually showed no respect for the constitution. He eventually resigned under questionable circumstances. He solicited an appointment to an empty District Judge’s seat. Our Governor appointed him until the next scheduled election. As a temporary judge this man continued to shows the citizens of Parker County that it was his way or the highway. He used his position on the bench to ridicule and humiliate citizens who came before him seeking help. When election time came, the citizens of Parker County, Texas told Trey Loftin it was he who was hitting the highway. “Hit the road Trey, and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more”.

  7. Give 100% of the proceeds to the Public Defender’s office for legal aid to sue the police departments.

  8. Didn’t fire or discipline Dove?! Hopefully a federal investigation of the Sheriff.

  9. Business has been good:

    Feds probe Bal Harbour Police Department over seized millions

    The special unit is under federal investigation for its handling of millions in seized dollars, including hundreds of thousands paid to snitches, questionable expenses and missing financial records.
    And for years, the money rained on Bal Harbour: $100,000 for a 35-foot boat powered by three Mercury outboards, $108,000 for a mobile command truck equipped with satellite and flat-screen TVs,
    $25,463 for next generation Taser X-2s. There was $7,000 for a police chiefs’ banquet, $45,839 for a Chevy Tahoe, $26,473 for Apple computers, $15,000 for a laser virtual firing range and $21,000 for an anti-drug beach bash.

    Let the good times roll.

  10. Lee Dove is a thief.

    Officially sanctioned and operating under the law, but still a thief.

    We write each other outraged notes that make us feel better, but Dove is still out there collecting a government salary.

    This stealing will continue until somebody, somewhere is outraged enough to respond to armed robbery the way it needs to be dealt with.

  11. Asset seizure is a big deal and lucrative in the Western states where we have a lot of drug trafficking. That is what Officer Dove is trying to do. And he is right, it is a pain to get the assets back.

  12. Perhaps stealing from a Captain in the Mob will result in an attitude adjustment for the entire chain of command while everything else fails?

  13. This may be just the tip of the iceberg. …if Dove is getting away with this– wonder what his boss is getting away with… follow the chain of command.
    ~ A country that does not enforce its own laws will soon turn into a lawless country.

  14. It’s called public corruption, theft, and extortion–at least it used to be.

    1. If I am reading this correctly Officer Dove gave all the money to the county. I will tell you that when I have an officer start acting like this around me, the first thing I do is ‘demand’ that they call their sergeant. And then I work my way up the line if I have to. When the sergeant arrives, I ask to see the statute they are operating under. That usually puts an end to things.

      In this case you could call 911, report a robbery and ask for the Nevada Highway Patrol. If nothing else, they would be fighting over who got the money. 🙂

  15. The evolution from LEO into LPO (legally plundering officer).

    The failure to correct the problem institutionalizes it into that local police culture, thus, it will spread.

    That is how cultures become utterly corrupt and undemocratic (When Accountability Is A Plague).

  16. FBI won’t get involved because none of the money was taken from illegal immigrants. Besides, the DOJ has probably been adding these totals to its Nevada drug enforcement totals.

  17. This is theft and coercion under color of law. I wonder if the FBI could take up this case.

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