A Brooklyn man is suing NYPD after cops arrested him for possession of crystal meth. Only the drug bust turned out to be instead for Jolly Ranchers candies.
Love Olatunijojo, 25, and an unidentified friend purchased Jolly Ranchers at the It’Sugar candy emporium in Coney Island last June. Several blocks away, cops stopped and searched the friends and mistook the candies for crystal meth, the lawsuit says.
The officer who arrested Olatunijojo stated in the criminal affidavit that he had professional training in identifying methamphetamine, the New York Daily News reports.
Olatunijojo and the friend were detained by NYPD for about 24 hours.
According to the suit, the cops who arrested Olatunijojo told him it was “only a matter a time before they found something.”
“I don’t know if these cops have been watching ‘Breaking Bad,’ but my client is not Walter White,” said lawyer Kenneth Smith, who filed the suit Tuesday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Smith told The Smoking Gun that the Jolly Ranchers were in their “individual wrappers” when they were seized by police.
Officer Jermaine Taylor claimed he administered a field test to determine if the candies were narcotics and got a “positive” result, the complaint states.
Two “red crystalline rocks of solid material” and four “blue crystalline rocks of solid material” were taken to a drug lab and were revealed to days later to be Jolly Ranchers and not drugs, Smith said.
While the incident took place in June, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office waited until Sept. 19 to seek dismissal of the charges against Olatunijojo and his friend, who was also arrested for possession of the candy.
Mike Levine, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, told the New York Daily News that crystal meth and Jolly Rancher candies do look a lot alike.
“Crystal meth is produced in all kinds of colors,” Levine said. “There’s a type that’s going around that looks like strawberry Pop Rocks candy.”
Olatunijojo is seeking unspecified monetary damages for the 24 hours he spent in police custody and court detention for a misdemeanor drug charge. He claims to have suffered emotional distress as a result of the alleged false arrest, illegal search and seizure and false imprisonment.
Sources: New York Daily News, The Smoking Gun