Florida Man Awarded $37,500 After Cops Think Glazed Doughnut Crumbs Are Meth
Of course, they can have the same effect on some people.
A Florida man has been awarded nearly $40,000 after Orlando police busted him during a traffic stop for methamphetamine possession—even though the small, crystalline flakes were actually crumbs from a glazed donut, as he tried to convince the arresting officers at the time.
Florida Man doesn't usually catch a break around these parts, but NPR reports it's a happy ending for 64-year-old Daniel Rushing after his Kafkaesque nightmare began back in December 2015. Rushing had stopped by an Orlando 7-Eleven to give an older employee he knew a ride home from work. Unbeknownst to him, the Orlando Police Department was staking out the parking lot after multiple complaints of drug-related problems there.
Officer Shelby Riggs-Hopkins pulled Rushing over shortly after he left the lot, telling him that he was speeding and failed to come to a complete stop at the exit. When Riggs-Hopkins realized Rushing had a concealed weapons permit, she had him to step out of the car and asked for permission to search his vehicle. Rushing said sure, knowing full well he hadn't committed any crimes.
That made it all the more shocking when Riggs-Hopkins and the other responding officers told him they had found a few "rock-like" flakes on the floorboard, and that a field test showed the substance was meth. "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 noted in the arrest report.
Of course, as Rushing tried to explain at the time, it wasn't. As a state crime lab later showed, those suspicious-looking white flakes were simply crumbs from a Krispy Kreme glazed donut, an every-other-week habit that Rushing surely never thought could lead to his arrest. Rushing was booked for methamphetamine possession while carrying a weapon, strip searched, and detained for more than 10 hours before getting out on bail.
"It was funny," Rushing told NPR, "because I called my wife to tell her what happened, and the guy next to me waiting for the phone started to laugh. He said, 'This is crazy. I think you got a real good lawsuit here.'"
As a result, all charges were dropped, Officer Riggs-Hopkins was disciplined for making an improper arrest, and the entire Orlando police force was retrained on the correct use of field testing kits. As for Rushing? He still likes Krispy Kreme donuts—he just doesn't eat them in the car anymore.