From time to time, you may have treated yourself to a delicious Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut – but after you hear of a Orlando man’s experience last year with police in that city, you may want to rethink that indulgence, at least when you’re visiting that Florida vacation spot.
Shortly after driving away from a convenience store, Daniel Rushing, a 64-year-old retiree from the city parks department, was stopped by a police team which had staked out the location, due to neighborhood complaints of drug activity there. The cops said Rushing had exited the parking lot without coming to a full stop before entering the roadway, and had driven away at a speed about 12 miles per hour above the 30 mph speed limit.
The police then made a traffic stop; while examining Rushing’s license, they saw he had a concealed-carry permit, and learned he had a handgun in his possession. They took his gun, told him to step out of his vehicle, and asked to search his car. He consented, and during the search, the senior police officer on the scene spotted a “rocklike substance” on the driver’s side floorboards.
In the arrest report, the police officer recounted that, thanks to her “eleven years of training and experience as a police officer,” she recognized the material from the floorboard as “some sort of narcotic.” She then collected a few more samples of the small flakes of shiny material – a member of the back-up team that showed up to assist in the stop found more flakes on the driver’s seat – and used roadside testing kits on two separate samples.
Rushing tried to explain he had recently eaten a glazed doughnut in the car, and the shiny flakes were likely just bits of sugar glazing that had fallen off. But the cops were skeptical, and when the quickie field tests confirmed the presence of methamphetamines, Rushing was given a Miranda warning, arrested on felony drug possession charges, handcuffed, and taken to the county jail, where he was strip searched. After about 10 hours behind bars, he was released after posting $2,500 bail.
About two weeks later, the Orlando police sent the samples to a state criminal lab for additional testing. More than a month later, the lab reported no controlled substances were present, and charges against Rushing were soon dropped.
There are good reasons to distrust results from the inexpensive field-test kits. According to Florida’s crime lab system reveal 21% of samples sent to them which police have labeled as methamphetamines in fact do not contain those chemicals, and roughly half of these false positives do not contain any controlled substances at all, as was true in Rushing’s case.
Meanwhile, Rushing recently filed a negligence lawsuit against Orlando and Safariland, the manufacturer of the roadside drug-test kit. The suit claims Orlando police were not properly trained in how to use the testing kits and their limitations. The lawsuit also notes Rushing’s humiliation from the incident continues, as he has been unable to get a listing of the now-dismissed charges brought against him and his mugshot removed from a number of privately-operated websites.