Judge approves settlement in Kansas City police forfeiture case

Sunday, April 10, 2011 | 6:01 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — Fifty people who claim Kansas City police improperly seized their property will share $1.2 million, and their attorneys will get another $1.4 million.

The Kansas City Star reported that a Jackson County judge approved the settlement agreement Friday, ending a decade-long class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit had claimed police mismanaged the forfeiture of plaintiffs' property during criminal investigations. They accused the department of illegally handing their seized property over to the federal government for forfeiture.

Under state law, money seized by the police department should have gone toward public education, not federal authorities, unless a state prosecutor and state judge decided otherwise.

Police have since changed their forfeiture procedures.

Lawyers representing police said the department admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement terms to avoid the uncertainties of a trial.

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