They were a couple from South Dakota driving through Parker, Colorado on vacation. Dion Anderson had just won a settlement of about $28,000, which his attorney confirmed and communicated to the bank so that his settlement check could be cashed. Anderson never had a checking account to park money money, and he and his girlfriend Margaret McKinney wanted to take the cash with them to Colorado so that they could keep it safe. They feared that if they left it at their apartment, it would get stolen or destroyed. Perhaps following his lawsuit victory, he made himself a prime target.
It doesn’t really matter what their reasoning was to bring that much cash with them. There is nothing wrong with having that much money. It’s their money. It’s their business.
When Margaret McKinney and her boyfriend Dion Anderson had made a wrong turn in Colorado and ended up driving through Parker, a cop pulled them over for having their temporary tag in the wrong place. A serious crime, I know. The Denver Post reported:
A Parker police officer pulled over 33-year-old Margaret McKinney because the temporary tag on her car was in the wrong place. The officer smelled marijuana and asked to search the car, McKinney said.
“I thought, ‘For what?’ ” McKinney said. “I had no reason for not allowing the search. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
Let me stop right there for a second. This is the reason people advise not saying a word to police, or at least not consenting to a search. It’s not a guarantee that your money and possessions won’t be stolen by the police, but you’re more likely to keep those things if you force the police to prove their case against your first. It also makes your case a lot easier to defend by an attorney. TV shows have taught us that “if you haven’t done anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide.” That’s a total myth, as this case makes clear.
By the time the traffic stop ended, McKinney and her boyfriend, Dion “Tony” Anderson, 46, were out more than $25,000 after spending two hours being detained on the roadside by Parker police and a federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
The couple said they were never charged with a crime and were allowed to keep marijuana and a pipe. But the money was seized after officers found it stuffed in socks in a suitcase.
“I saw her pipe on the hood of her car, and she got to keep it while my money went in the other direction,” Anderson said. “That burned my tail feathers.”
Now, Anderson, who said he received the money through a lawsuit settlement, must prove he obtained the money through legal means to get it back from the government.
Parker police and the DEA declined to speak about the case, but legal experts said it seems Anderson’s money was taken through a controversial government program that was ended last month by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“It literally sounds like highway robbery,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director for the ACLU-Colorado.
So, this whole money seizure was supposedly about drugs. Having marijuana and a pipe with which to smoke it is not illegal in Colorado. But they stole 25 grand from them because of the marijuana they found.
If marijuana really was the issue, then why in the world did they give the marijuana and the pipe back to them? Because they didn’t care about that. They just wanted the money. And now, this couple has to prove to the court system that their cash was legally obtained if they ever want to see part of their money again. In other words, this couple is guilty until they’ve been proven by a biased court system to be innocent. They were never charged with any crime, because they didn’t do anything illegal. Having cash is not a crime. In Colorado, having marijuana and a pipe is not illegal. It was obviously a small amount of weed, because the cops gave it back.
I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t seize the car. Maybe it was a clunker and not worth the hassle of trying to sell it.
I just saw a nice police pickup truck the other day with a decal that read “Donated by a drug dealer.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Parker cops took that $25,000 and bought a nice car and put the same decal on it.