Walter White knows his stuff. The Florida police, not so much.
We all have our vices, and some carry a higher price tag than others. Perhaps you imbibe; maybe you smoke. For Daniel Rushing of Orlando Florida, a weekly doughnut habit landed him 10 hours in jail – and now a $37,500 judgment.
In December 2015, Rushing – who just dropped a friend off for chemotherapy, and was then giving another friend a ride – was pulled over for speeding and failing to come to complete stop. After producing his license, the arresting officer, Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins, noticed a concealed weapons permit. Rushing acknowledged he had a gun, and was asked to step out of the vehicle. That’s when things get interesting.
In her report, Riggs-Hopkins stated she saw “a rock like substance on the floor board” which she recognized through her “eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer…to be some sort of narcotic.” According to Rushing, however, that substance was in fact “sugar from a Krispie Kreme Donut that he ate.”
The check is in the mail! My phone was turned off! Stop sign? What stop sign?
One can only imagine the array of excuses out there. What’s harder to imagine is the truth of Rushing’s excuse when field testing results indicate methamphetamine – twice.
After being arrested and spending 10 hours in jail, Orlandopolice’s crime lab confirmed the ‘white crystals’ were not a controlled substance. Three days later, the State Attorney’s office dropped the case. Rushing hired William Ruffier to file suit. And, fast forward to 2017… you can piece together the rest.
In a troubling report by ProPublica and The New York Times, it has been found that thousands of people are arrested every year based on false hits from these field kits. The kit manufacturer, The Safariland Group, has remarked the issue is with proper training on their use. And the Orlando police have since responded by stating additional training was issued. However, the issue persists around the country.
So, what’s the lesson?
RELATED NEWS (11/24/18):
Dasha Fincher, a Georgia resident, is currently suing the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, two sheriff’s deputies and Sirchie (the manufacturer of the narcotics test) after being imprisoned for possession of cotton candy.
Pulled over for tinted windows the officers believed too dark, they noticed a plastic bag containing “a light blue substance, spherical in shape … in the floor board of the vehicle”. Preliminary testing on the scene was positive for methamphetamine. Unable to pay her bail, set at $1 million, Ms. Fincher spent over three months in jail before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s report returned with findings that the material was only sugar.