You read that right. It sounds like a scene from a comedy with Seth Rogen and James Franco, but it was very real for 64-year-old Daniel Rushing of Orlando, Florida.
And the icing on the cake (doughnut)? This isn’t the only time cops have mistaken a harmless substance for drugs! A similar situation happened again to another Floridian, Karlos Cashe, earlier in 2017.
How Did This Happen?
Daniel Rushing was pulled over in 2015 after driving home an elderly woman from his church. The officer pulled him over for failing to stop before entering a roadway. The officer checked his license and noticed a concealed-weapons permit, to which Rushing confirmed that he had his weapon present. He was asked to step out as multiple officers searched his car.
They found some crystals on the floorboard of his car. Rushing explained that they were crumbs from a doughnut he’d eaten—specifically, glaze crumbs from a Krispy Kreme—but the crumbs tested posted for methamphetamine in a field testing kit! Rushing was arrested and the crystals were sent for further testing. Of course, later it was discovered that the crumbs were, in fact, just glaze particles.
A similar scenario panned out for Karlos Cashe in 2017—except instead of doughnuts, it was drywall. Though Cashe told officers that the white powder in his car was drywall, they didn’t believe him. And lo and behold, the field kit tested positive for cocaine! Cashe spend 90 days in jail before the Florida Department of Law Enforcement tested the substance and discovered, indeed, that it was drywall.
Looks Bad for Field Testing
Though the Oviedo Police Department, which arrested Cashe, told the media that its field test kits are 99% accurate…that’s just not true. In both cases, the field kit was 100% wrong. Rushing was awarded $37,500 and his charges were dropped. Cashe is considering a lawsuit as well.
These blunders could—and should—change field testing routines in Florida. Orlando’s police use NIK general testing kits, which are practically the most inexpensive kits a police department could use—and very common across the United States.
ProPublica and The New York Times investigated and found that tens of thousands of people are sent to jail based on these kits’ results. If these kits gave false positives for Rushing and Cashe…chances are they’ve done the same for other victims. There may be hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people in jail because of these kits. One manufacturer, The Safariland Group, says these field test kits are “presumptive aids” and cannot substitute for laboratory testing. Or, we might add, prove guilt.
At the very least, officers throughout the U.S. need to change to change the kits they use, or change how these kits are administered. One faulty result is enough to demand this! Sadly, faulty or inaccurate field tests are nothing new. At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we’ve seen many police goof-ups not too different from the ones above. But we know these field testing weaknesses exist, and we have successfully used them to contest drug charges leveled against many of our clients. If you need a skilled Orange County drug crime attorney, call us toll-free at (888) 478-8999.