News

Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Hosts Second Panel Discussion on Civil Asset Forfeiture and its Impact on Communities of Color

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                  

May 4, 2021           

Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Hosts Second Panel Discussion on Civil Asset Forfeiture and its Impact on Communities of Color

The Georgia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announces its second panel of speakers to provide testimony on the impact of civil asset forfeiture on communities of color in the state. The Committee is hosting a series of public meetings to gather testimony regarding the extent to which civil asset forfeiture practices in Georgia may have a discriminatory impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

The meeting will take place via web conference on Monday May 10, 2021 at 12pm Eastern Time. The public may register for the event online (audio/visual), at: https://bit.ly/3mvDOh2. The public may also join the call by phone (audio only) at 800-360-9505; Access code 199 105 0985. Closed captions will be provided. Individuals requiring other accommodations should contact the regional program unit at (202) 618-4158 five business days prior to the meeting to make their request.

The agenda for this second panel of speakers includes:

  • Eric Cochling, Chief Program Officer and General Counsel, Georgia Center for Opportunity
  • Sandra Scott, Representative, District 76, Georgia House of Representatives
  • Chris Bruce, Legislative Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
  • Jennifer McDonald, Senior Research Analyst, Institute for Justice

Members of the public will be invited to speak during an open comment period near the end of the meeting. The Committee will hear testimony from additional speakers to be scheduled throughout spring 2021. The Committee will also accept written testimony submitted to mwojnaroski@usccr.gov throughout the duration of this project. The Committee’s first meeting took place via web conference on Wednesday March 10, 2021 from 2-3:45 pm Eastern Time. Records from this meeting including a recording and meeting transcript are available at: https://bit.ly/3xxVJsF.

“Civil forfeiture allows police to seize, then keep or sell the property alleged to be involved in a crime. This practice allows many police departments to use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, which increases seizures motivated by profit rather than fighting crime,” said Committee Chair Chantel Mullen. “The owners of said property may not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for them to permanently lose their cash, cars, businesses, or even their homes. This is a civil rights issue of enormous concern that deserves deeper research and discussion on its impact on Georgians from already marginalized communities.”

The Georgia Advisory Committee will issue findings and recommendations in a report to the Commission after all testimony has been received.

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The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is the only independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights and reporting annually on federal civil rights enforcement. Our 51 state Advisory Committees offer a broad perspective on civil rights concerns at state and local levels. For information about the Commission, please visit www.usccr.gov and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.