An Orlando man was arrested, booked, strip searched, and charged with drug offenses, all over a false positive field test that identified the left-over glaze from his doughnut as crystal methamphetamine.
Daniel Rushing, 64, was stopped at around 1 P.M. on December 11 at the corner of Robinson Street and Parramore Avenue after leaving the 7-Eleven store at 938 W. Colonial Drive by Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins of the Orlando Police Department. Stopping him after he allegedly failed to come to a full stop before exiting the convenience store parking lot and claiming further that he was exceeding the speed limit, Riggs-Hopkins asked Rushing to exit his vehicle after he informed her that he had a concealed handgun permit and was armed.
Riggs-Hopkins claimed in the arrest report that she subsequently spotted what she believed to be a “rock like substance” on the floorboard that she “recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic.”
Riggs-Hopkins then asked Rushing for permission to search his vehicle. Believing he had nothing to fear because he had nothing to hide, he consented. Riggs-Hopkins and other unnamed officers who arrived upon the scene say they discovered more of what they believed to be crystal meth in his vehicle.
According to the arrest report, the officers conducted two roadside tests that indicated positive for the narcotic. Despite Rushing informing officers that the substance was, in fact, glaze from a doughnut, they arrested him and booked him into the county jail on a charge of possession of methamphetamine with a firearm.
Rushing, a retired Orlando parks department employee, then spent ten hours locked up in Orlando County Jail until his release was secured after a $2,500 bond was posted.
Three days later the State Attorney filed paperwork to drop charges based upon a test done by the FDLE in its Orlando crime lab that confirmed that the substance found in Rushing’s vehicle was not an illicit one. Rushing subsequently hired an attorney to pursue a civil suit against the relevant parties over the stop and arrest he experienced. For its part, OPD said in a statement that its arrest of Rushing was lawful.
Although representatives of the OPD and FDLE were unable to identify the prevalence of false positive roadside tests in Florida, a review of the data by The New York Times indicated that over one fifth of the drug evidence local law enforcement alleged was methamphetamine was misidentified.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have represented individuals from around the world against state and federal felony drug charges in Tampa Bay-area courts. Contact us now to discuss your case.