An appeals court ruled a Kane County sergeant improperly prolonged a traffic stop from which authorities seized a car and more than $8,000 cash, and now the driver and passengers are suing the county and officers involved in federal court.
The officer who initiated the stop once described asset forfeiture as “a tax-liberating gold mine” that allows the government to “pull in expendable cash hand over fist,” according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court. The officer, a sergeant, also works for Desert Snow, a private company that trains officers in police stops and asset forfeiture, according to the lawsuit. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is among agencies that have paid Desert Snow for training.
The civil complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees. Defendants include the sergeant, Ronald Hain; Kane County; Kane County Sheriff Donald Kramer; and Kane County Det. Ryan Monaghan.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said his office doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Kane County Sheriff spokesman Lt. Patrick Gengler said it appears the county has sent 10 deputies to Desert Snow training and paid the company less than $5,000.
Hain’s work with Desert Snow was initially approved under former sheriff Pat Perez, Gengler said.
The sheriff’s office has taken in millions of dollars of cash and assets from forfeiture carried out by Hain and other employees during hundreds of traffic stops, according to the complaint.
After Haim pulled over a black Chevrolet Impala with Minnesota plates on Interstate 90 at Route 47 and issued a warning during that 2015 stop, police searched the vehicle and found a 9mm bullet, marijuana flakes, a Ruger handgun with one bullet in the chamber, another handgun loaded with a bullet in the chamber, an $8,000 cash bundle stowed inside a purse, and a