Cops Troll Felony Suspect By Wrapping His Seized Corvette

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Escambia County can hopefully read rights better than they can rooms.

This week on "Police Not Reading The Room," the Escambia County Sheriff's Office got themselves a new car. A free car. It's a 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which, at its peak, cost $81,995. In a Facebook post from the Florida-based Escambia County Sheriff's Office, the post said:

"No taxpayer dollars were used to fund this vehicle. It was seized from a felony suspect. The new wrap and upgrades were funded by the Escambia County Sheriff Foundation." Sheriff Chip Simmons is very quick to make that clear twice in less than a minute.

The post has since gathered more than 43,000 likes on Facebook and has been shared more than 14,000 times. In the post, ECSO also said that the new police supercar would be used for "community engagement like we've never seen before." However, some members of the community don't feel the same.

https://fb.watch/dWX-NIKGFB/
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook

Browsing the Facebook post's comments shows multiple upset residents of the 316,000-strong Florida county. One commenter from nearby Panama City Beach, FL said that "the money would have been in the budget instead it's some flashy unnecessary parade car," in reference to the fact the car was not auctioned upon its seizure. There are plenty of other non-local comments voicing similar anger.

Those residents are upset about the ECSO taking the Corvette for themselves under a legal premise called Civil Asset Forfeiture. In essence, asset forfeiture is what allowed this to happen.

Police can seize property like cars, money, or, assets if police believe any of these assets are connected to criminal activity. In this case, that may very well be true, as the post does say this car was taken from a felony suspect.

Herein lies the issue. Should this person be released from custody on bail, or cleared of any relevant charges linked to the use of this 650-hp supercar, their car is now the Sheriff's car, complete with custom lighting paid for by an organization that collects money to support various projects in the name of the ECSO.

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Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook

The car is also now tainted in the eyes of a potentially innocent owner. Whether they are or not is unknown, but our legal system does operate under the premise of "innocent until proven guilty." The anger in the comments section is justified. In September, local news outlets began reporting on the budget for the small Florida county, which included a $6.9 million increase to $72 million for the Sheriff's Office. That included a 6% pay increase for deputies.

Additionally, the county may want to reconsider that wrap. In the video, Simmons says there are ships on it paying homage to Tristan de Luna y Arellano, a Spanish conquistador who served with Francisco Coronado, a prominent figure in the conquest of Mexico's indigenous peoples. Arellano was with Coronado at a battle in Oaxaca where indigenous Mexicans were killed.

Much of the anger over the Sherriff's move is centered around the simple fact that the money from auctioning the vehicle (something often done with police-seized assets) could have gone elsewhere. The police budget for one, or community enrichment; like child care programs, programs for the poor and homeless, or just about anywhere besides "some flashy unnecessary parade car."

Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook
Escambia County Sheriff/Facebook

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