A Brooklyn man claims he told cops the whole time that what they found on him were mints, but he was arrested when an officer thought it was Ecstasy. He’s now suing for false arrest.
According to a criminal court complaint, Robert Hankins was arrested by NYPD Officer Sean Nurse in early April, The Smoking Gun noted. The officer reported observing Hankins in possession of “a plastic bag containing a quantity of” Ecstasy.
The complaint also notes that the officer had “professional training” in the identification of Ecstasy.
The New York Post reports that according to Hankins’ lawsuit, Hankins spent 30 hours in jail before he was eventually released. He also alleges in his suit that cops stopped to search him without cause.
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“He told them to break them up, to sniff them, to do whatever they had to do,” Hankins’ lawyer Gabriel Harvis said. “But they didn’t.”
It turned out that what was thought to be Ecstasy was actually Pow breath mints, and prosecutors dismissed a drug possession charge against Hankins in October.
“Fresh breath is not a crime,” Harvis added. “It’s unthinkable that mints from Walgreens could be confused for Ecstasy pills. All the officers needed to do was smell them. They’re wintergreen.”
The Smoking Gun also notes that a New York City man filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD in October after he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, which turned out to be Jolly Rancher candies.