DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Why did Dallas Police take $100,000 from a woman at Love Field? A Community Police Oversight Board wants to know.
A 25-year-old woman travelling from Chicago was on a layover at Love Field two weeks ago when a Dallas police dog took interest in her checked bag.
Inside, officers found nothing but blankets and two large envelopes with over $107,000 in cash, money they seized.
On Facebook, the department celebrated the work of K9 Officer Ballentine.
"We need to get him some treats!" read the post.
But public reaction was largely critical, with people accusing the department of "stealing" the money from the woman who was neither arrested nor charged.
"What I want to know are what are the rules? And did this woman break them? And it's not clear to me that she did," said Brandon Friedman, who sits on the city's Community Police Oversight Board.
At its meeting Tuesday night, he expressed alarm at the lack of explanation from Dallas Police.
"I understand that they're sensitive, confidential topics that may be part of an investigation that they can't divulge to the public. But, somebody with oversight responsibility needs to be told," said Friedman.
Dallas police haven't identified the woman whose cash was taken or shared her explanation for why she was carrying that much cash, which some people have labelled suspicious.
Friedman, though, doesn't think she should be obligated to explain.
"It's not my business. It's not my business why someone's carrying $100,000 dollars at the airport, unless it's illegal and from everything we've seen it doesn't seem to be," said Friedman.
Attorneys who represent citizens in civil asset forfeitures say Dallas police were acting within the law.
"Texas law allows them to take the money based on suspicion essentially. Well, we think you were doing something illegal," said attorney Paul Green.
Police don't need as much evidence to seize your property as they do to arrest you, though they will eventually have to show it has a substantial connection to illegal activity. If they lose that argument in court, attorneys say there's little downside for them, besides potentially having to return the cash.
"It's now incumbent on her to hire an attorney and fight this battle. And many people in Texas who are in this situation don't have to money to actually fight," said attorney Scott Palmer.
The community police oversight board has asked the police department to attend next month's meeting to answer member's questions about this case. Several state lawmakers, including Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan have commented on it, as well, promising to pursue civil asset forfeiture reform in the next legislative session.
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