Daniel Rushing, 64, filed a lawsuit against the city of Orlando, Florida after he was arrested in December 2015 by a police officer who mistakenly identified flakes of Krispy Kreme donut glaze for meth.
Mr. Rushing told the police officer that he ate Krispy Kreme donuts earlier and the flakes were just sugar glaze. Even so, he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after the officer’s roadside tests on the flakes were positive for an illegal substance.
Mr. Rushing, a retiree from the Orlando Parks Department, said he had just dropped off a neighbor at the hospital for a chemotherapy session — something he did every Friday — and went to a 7-11 to pick up another elderly church friend to give her a ride home.
The 7-11 was staked out by Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins, an 8-year department veteran, who was investigating complaints of drug activity.
Mr. Rushing was pulled over because he failed to come to a full stop before pulling out of the 7-11 parking lot. He was handcuffed, arrested, taken to the county jail, strip searched, and locked up for about 10 hours before being released on $2,500 bond.
He told the Orlando Sentinel:
I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette before, let alone meth. I got arrested for no reason at all.”
Mr. Rushing was cleared of the charges after a state drug lab determined that the flakes of donut glaze were not actually methamphetamine. Even so, his arrest derailed his plans to open up a security business.
The police department said the arrest was lawful and did not explain why the glaze tested positive for methamphetamine in both field tests.
The police officer who arrested Mr. Rushing was given a written reprimand, according to the Orlando Police Department, and over 730 officers went through training on how to properly use field-test kits.
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that its review showed that 21% of the time, drug evidence that was listed by local authorities as methamphetamine turned out to be something else.