ORLANDO – A Florida man’s love of doughnuts got him arrested, strip-searched and tossed in jail for 10 hours after officers mistook several crumbs of icing for crystal methamphetamine, he told WFTV.
Dan Rushing says he’s now considering legal action after the fateful traffic stop, which happened in December 2015.
Rushing, 64, had just dropped a neighbor off at a chemotherapy session and went to pick up an elderly friend from church at a 7-11 store when police pulled him over around 1 p.m.
The arresting officer, Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins, wrote in the police report that they were surveilling the store after getting multiple complaints of drug activity. Riggs-Hopkins pulled Rushing over after he left the parking lot for failing to come to a complete stop and speeding (he was driving 42 mph in a 35 mph zone).
When he pulled out his identification, Riggs-Hopkins noticed his concealed firearm permit and asked for permission to search his car, according to the report.
“I didn’t have anything to hide,” he said in an interview with WFTV. “I’ll never let anyone search my car again.”
The officers found “in plain view a rock like substance on the floor board where his feet were … I recognized, through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer, the substance to be some sort of narcotic.”
Riggs-Hopkins wrote in the report that police performed two field tests on the “rock like substance,” and that it tested positive for narcotics both times. Rushing was arrested for possession of an amphetamine with a weapon.
Rushing, who says he’s never even smoked marijuana, believes the “substance” was just sugar from the Krispy Kreme doughnuts he treats himself to every other week.
“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.
The arrest record also documented his protests: “Rushing stated that the substance is sugar from a Krispie (sic) Kreme Donut that he ate,” according to the police report.
Rushing says he was strip-searched and booked into the county jail for 10 hours until he was released on a $2,500 bond.
Charges were dropped a month after his arrest when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab determined that the “meth” was not a narcotic. A spokesperson for the FDLE said the test was only for narcotics, and the lab couldn’t confirm that it was indeed from the Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
When asked about the false-positive field tests, police told the paper, “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.”
“It’s a terrible feeling to go to jail when you have not done anything,” Rushing said.
Rushing has hired an attorney and reached out to the city about the arrest, but it’s not clear what damages he’s seeking.