Wayne County hit with lawsuit over vehicle forfeiture program

2 people say their cars were unfairly seized

Wayne County is facing a lawsuit over a vehicle forfeiture program.

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – There’s a federal lawsuit against Wayne County alleging that its vehicle forfeiture program is leaving innocent people without cars to drive.

Two people came forward Wednesday and said they had their cars seized even though they weren’t part of any crime.

“Residents of Wayne County and Detroit Michigan have been preyed upon by police and prosecutors,” Senior attorney for Institute for Justice Wesley Hottot said.

Melisa Ingram and Robert Reeves both said they are victims of the county’s seizure and civil forfeiture tactics.

“I feel like I was robbed. The police took my stuff and been holding it from me,” Reeves said.

Deputies allegedly seized his car along with close to $2,000 that he had on him. He said it wasn’t because of something he did.

“Robert drove to a job site where someone supposedly stole a piece of construction equipment. No one thinks he stole anything, but his vehicle was seized along with the cash that he had with him at the time,” Hottot said.

In Ingram’s case her car was taken twice after she loaned it to her former boyfriend. He allegedly did something illegal, but wasn’t arrested.

“When the vehicle was seized a second time she was told by prosecutors that she’d have to pay $1,800 plus towing and storage fees. She wasn’t able to do that, she went into bankruptcy,” Hottot said.

Ingram and Reeves are hoping to get their cars and money back.

“I’m fighting back because I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the pain and suffering that I’ve gone through,” Ingram said.

About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.