After saving his little earnings and gotten up to $16,000, 22-year-old Joseph Rivers decided to travel from Michigan to Los Angeles (LA) where he planned to make a music video in Hollywood to see whether his struggle for better live will come to an end.
But as he took the train at the Amtrak station in Albuquerque-New Mexico, his dream of a better life after the video came to an end when he was confronted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the train on his way to LA.
It is said the DEA picks people in the train randomly who they suspected to be a drug dealer for questioning and in the train, Rivers was said to be the only black person and he was picked by the DEA. And after questioning him for some few minutes about his activities and his mission to LA, They found no drugs or whatsoever on him. The DEA searched his bags containing his clothes and other possessions as well as an envelope containing an amount of $16,000 in cash. Rivers had withdrawn the money from the bank the previous day and the envelope had the stamp of the bank.
The DEA officers for no reason took the money without any evidence that Rivers was a drug dealer. They never saw him selling drugs or committing a crime of any sort. The DEA officers only claimed that they are certain that he is a drug dealer and he got the money from the sale of drugs. Many in the train with Rivers are said to have protested to the officers’ action but they never listened to anybody and took the money away.
Rivers is said to have explained to the officers how he plans to make a music video in Hollywood to be able to make a fortune and even called her mother on phone to talk to the officer but all fell on rocks and the officers made away with money just like that.
“These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me. I told them I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that”, Rivers later told http://www.abqjournal.com/ in an interview.
The agent in charge of the DEA office in Albuquerque where the incident occurred-Sean Waite admitted shamelessly that they took the money from Rivers, adding that “we don’t have to prove that the person is guilty. It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty.”
Rivers has decided to fight this matter at the law court to its logical conclusion. His attorney-Michael Pancer explained that this arbitrary action by the DEA officers is not new in the area and that it has occurred many times.
“What this is, is having your money stolen by a federal agent acting under the color of law. It’s a national epidemic. If my office got four to five cases just recently, and I’m just one attorney, you know this is happening thousands of times”, he said.
Pancer also added that he and his client are challenging the DEA asset forfeiture. He explained in a letter to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), that Rivers’ race clearly “played a role in the incident,” and that the DEA was not only stealing money, but using racial profiling and discrimination to line the administration’s pockets.
Many have expressed sympathy with Rivers and are hoping that the law will be fair and collect his money back so that he can realize his dream.
You want to discuss a certain topic with likeminded people or you want to organize a local protest or you have an idea for a project that can help people in need in your local community or all around the world? Join our forum! www.anonboards.com
You want to support Anonymous Independent & Investigative News? Please, follow us on Twitter: Follow @AnonymousNewsHQ