From Orlando, Florida, comes the maddening case of Daniel Rushing—who was literally arrested, handcuffed and charged with methamphetamine possession over a tiny flake of donut glaze on the floor of his car.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Rushing was driving home after dropping off a neighbor at the hospital for a chemotherapy session—something he did every Friday—when he stopped at a 7-Eleven to give another friend a ride home. The 7-Eleven was being staked out for suspected drug activity, and Rushing was stopped by police for failing to come to a full stop while pulling out of the parking lot.
Threatened with a ticket, he agreed to a search of his vehicle—confident that he had no illegal materials. But the officer found “a rock like substance on the floor board,” claimed to test it positive as meth and dragged Rushing off to jail.
“I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” the arresting officer wrote.
The supposed on-the-spot roadside test was wrong. When the sample was sent to a lab it proved not to be meth, or any other illegal substance. Rushing insists it was a flake of glaze from a donut he’d been eating days earlier—a stop at Krispy Kreme being an every-other-Wednesday ritual for him. Charges were dropped.
And while Rushing’s case won some media coverage due its sheer absurdity, it is hardly isolated. Florida Department of Law Enforcement data shows that 21 percent of the time, drug evidence that was listed by local authorities as methamphetamine turned out to be something else.