The three Brooklyn men who were arrested after NYPD officers mistook their Jolly Ranchers for crystal meth have sued the NYPD and received $33,000 in compensation.
The incident occurred last year in Coney Island.
Papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court allege that Love Olatunjiojo, 26, and Omar Ferriera, 23, were stopped by officers shortly after leaving the It’Sugar candy emporium, where they had purchased a variety of sweets, including Jolly Ranchers.
Court papers state that officers Jermaine Taylor and Jovanny Calderon handcuffed the two men, claiming that an undercover colleague had observed them selling drugs.
According to the lawsuit, the officers “repeatedly searched Ferreira and Olatunjiojo and told them it was ‘only a matter of time before they found something.’”
At that point, 27-year-old Jimmy Santos, who was standing nearby with his 3-year-old daughter, broke in to protest the arrests of his two friends.
Officer Diana Pichardo then allegedly ordered Santos’ arrest, prompting an unidentified cop to punch Santos in the face.
All three men were transported to the 60th Precinct station house.
According to court documents filed in relation to the drug charges pressed against Olatunjiojo and Ferriera, cops had performed a field test on the candy, which tested positive for a controlled substance.
Santos was charged with obstructing government administration.
NY Daily News reports that the three men spent nearly 24 hours in custody before a judge released them on their own recognizance.
The NYPD laboratory later concluded that the red and blue candies were not, in fact, drugs.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Kenneth Smith, noted that the city admitted no wrongdoing on the cops’ part. Smith, meanwhile, argues that the cops had no reason to mistake the candy for drugs.
“To my knowledge there is no evidence in the scientific literature that crystal meth looks like Jolly Ranchers or rock candy, other than from the ‘Breaking Bad’ TV show,” Smith said.
According to papers filed last month, Olatunjiojo and Ferriera will each take $4,000 home from the lawsuit, while Santo has been awarded $25,000. Olatunjiojo and Ferriera will receive less because during the booking process, cops determined that both men had outstanding bench warrants—not related to drug violations—against them for failing to show up in court for quality of life summonses.