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ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida man was arrested, handcuffed, strip searched and put in jail because a police officer could not tell the difference between doughnut glaze and crystal methamphetamine.
“I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut.’ … They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, ‘No, it’s meth, crystal meth,’” Rushing told The Orlando Sentinel.
Unfortunately for Rushing, two field drug tests identified the glaze from a Krispy Kreme Doughnut as methamphetamine. Police found it on the car’s floorboard.
“I got arrested for no reason at all,” Rushing said.
After the arrest, he spent 10 hours in jail and had to pay a $2,500 bond. Charges against him were later dismissed after a laboratory test revealed the substance, in fact, was doughnut glaze.
Rushing had just dropped off a friend at the hospital and was picking up another friend at a 7-11, when he was stopped by police. Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins of the Orlando Police Department had spotted Rushing doing 42 in a 30 mph zone. She had been watching the convenience store because of complaints about drug trafficking in the neighborhood, The Sentinel reported.
Search Leads to Jail
When she saw that Rushing had a concealed weapons permit, Riggs-Hopkins asked for permission to search his Chevy. He agreed and she spotted the doughnut glaze.
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“I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” Riggs-Hopkins wrote in a report. “Rushing stated that the substance is sugar from a Krispie Kreme Donut that he ate.”
Riggs-Hopkins was not swayed and arrested Rushing. The New York Times and Pro Publica reported earlier this year that a Florida Department of Law Enforcement laboratory determined that 21 percent of field tests are wrong.
Rushing got off easy; New York resident Alexander J. Bernstein spent 29 days in jail in Pennsylvania because a state trooper’s drug test identified homemade soap as cocaine, Off The Grid News recently reported. Bernstein sued the state and received a $195,000 settlement.
Not surprisingly, Rushing has hired a lawyer and is planning to sue the city of Orlando over the arrest.
“It was incredible,” Rushing said. “It feels scary when you haven’t done anything wrong and get arrested. … It’s just a terrible feeling.”
Rushing said he won’t ever treat police stops the same.
“I didn’t have anything to hide,” he said. “I’ll never let anyone search my car again.”
Orlando Police maintain the arrest was a lawful one, but also acknowledged that they don’t know the percentage of false positive field tests.
“At this time, we have no responsive records. … There is no mechanism in place for easily tracking the number of, or results of, field drug testing,” a police spokeswoman told the newspaper.
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