The unbelievable case of the mistaken substance identity…

September 29, 2009

Mr. Donald May of central Florida was driving home from work when he was stopped by police for having an expired tag. At the time of the traffic stop, Mr. May was chewing on breath mints. Because the police officer thought the white matter in Mr. May's mouth was crack cocaine, he arrested him on drug possession and evidence tampering charges.

The police officer then took some of the mints from Mr. May's mouth and put them in a plastic bag for lab testing. Later, the police officer claimed he field-tested the evidence he took from Mr. May's mouth and it tested positive for drugs. Unable to post bond, Mr. May spent three months in jail waiting for more definitive test results from the state labs.

Whether or not you believe the police officer's claim of drug findings in his field-test results of the mints, you may be interested to know that field tests for drugs are disturbingly inaccurate. Many common items can trigger false positives, including chocolate, soy milk, and natural soaps.

During the three months he was in jail, Mr. May lost his apartment, his car, his personal possessions, and his job. The police took possession of his car as evidence and it ended up being sold at a police auction.

After three months, the police department received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with the lab test results: the substance was not cocaine. The substance in Mr. May's mouth truly was breath mints. The state dropped all charges against Mr. May.

Mr. May has filed a lawsuit for false arrest and imprisonment, as well as a federal civil suit against the city. The police officer is no longer employed by the police department.

Does Mr. May have a great case or what?

2 comments:

Anonymous,  September 29, 2009 at 3:38 PM  

Mr. May will be sitting pretty. Its digusting what police can get away with just because they are police. Most of them are on ego trips because they have that badge on. I hope that county in Florida gets hit for millions.

Anonymous,  September 29, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

HEY, SHOULD HE HAVE A CASE, YES, DOES HE HAVE A CASE, I DONT KNOW, WHAT LAWYER WILL TAKE IT???? WHAT BAR CARD ATTORNEY WILL GO AGAINST THE SYSTEM??? I KNOW IN NJ IT WONT HAPPEN. I HAVE LOST, AS YOU KNOW, OVER 3 YEARS OF MY LIVILHOOD, WAITING FOR A TRIAL FOR A LOW LEVEL, NO ACCIDENT, FIRST OFFENSE, DUI, ... 29 APPEARANCES, 49 MONTHS, EVEN AFTER THE NJ SUPREME COURT SPECIFICALLY ORDERED THE PROSECUTIONB TO PROCEED TO TRIAL IN JAN OF 2006, ..... I LOST EVERYTHING, MY SAVINGS, MY JOB, MY CAR, ALL MY POSSESSIONS, IN THIS TIME, AND THE ABILITY TO BE EMPLOYED, ...... WHAT NJ ATTORNEY WILL TAKE MY CASE?

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