Drug War

Man Busted for Meth That Was Actually Donut Glaze Gets $37,500 for His Trouble

The Krispy Kreme Caper illustrates the limits of drug field tests and the cops who perform them.

|

Krispy Kreme

A man who was arrested for possession of "methamphetamine" that turned out to be donut glaze recently received $37,500 from the city of Orlando for his trouble. The payment settles a lawsuit that Daniel Rushing, a 65-year-old retiree who used to work for the city's Parks Department, brought after a traffic stop that illustrates the limits of drug field tests and the cops who perform them.

Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins pulled Rushing over on the afternoon of December 11, 2015, ostensibly because he did not make a complete stop as he pulled out of a 7-Eleven parking lot and subsequently exceeded the speed limit. But those offenses seem to have been pretexts. Riggs-Hopkins had been keeping an eye on the convenience store because of "citizen complaints about drug activity" and thought it was suspicious that Rushing, who was giving a lift to a friend, left without buying anything, in the company of a "black female employee of the 7-11."

When Rushing opened his wallet to retrieve his driver's license, Riggs-Hopkins noticed that he had a concealed-carry permit and asked if he was armed. He said he was, and she asked him to get out of his car "for my safety." At that point Riggs-Hopkins "observed in plain view a rock-like substance on the floor board where his feet were." The eagle-eyed, street-savvy cop recalled that she "recognized, through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer, the substance to be some sort of narcotic." The suspect "stated that the substance is sugar from a Krispy Kreme Donut that he ate," but Riggs-Hopkins knew better: Two field tests of the "rock-like substance" gave "a positive indication for the presence of amphetamines."

Rushing said Riggs-Hopkins initially was not sure what "sort of narcotic" she had discovered. "I kept telling them, 'That's…glaze from a doughnut," Rushing told the Orlando Sentinel. "They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first. Then they said, 'No, it's meth, crystal meth.'"

Adding insult to injury, Rushing was accused of possessing meth "with a weapon" (his legally carried handgun), which made a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, into a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He was handcuffed and taken to the county jail, where he was strip-searched and locked up for 10 hours before being released on $2,500 bail. Three days later, after a lab test found no illegal substance in the evidence recovered by Riggs-Hopkins, the charges against Rushing were dropped. The lab test was not specific enough to identify which brand of donut the glaze came from, so we'll just have to take Rushing's word that it was indeed a Krispy Kreme.

Rushing told the Sentinel he had tried to start a security business but could not find work because "people go online and see that you've been arrested." The Orlando Police Department (OPD) initially defended the arrest. But according to the Sentinel, the OPD "ended up training more than 730 officers on how to properly use the field test kits," and "Riggs-Hopkins was given a written reprimand for making an improper arrest."

In addition to the city of Orlando, Rushing sued the Safariland Group, which made the test kit used by Riggs-Hopkins. Although the OPD evidently attributes the two false positives that preceded Rushing's arrest to Riggs-Hopkins' inept performance of the drug test, such field kits are notoriously unreliable and may react to a wide range of legal substances. Faulty field tests were at the center of a 2012 Kansas marijuana raid triggered by loose tea, a case that last summer resulted in a rebuke by a federal appeals court panel. One of the judges faulted "junk science" as well as "an incompetent investigation" and a thirst for publicity.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

59 responses to “Man Busted for Meth That Was Actually Donut Glaze Gets $37,500 for His Trouble

  1. Two field tests of the “rock-like substance” gave “a positive indication for the presence of amphetamines.”

    Krispy Kreme, thou art busted.

    1. It does go a long way toward explaining why I feel so energized after eating a dozen Krispy Kremes in a sitting.

      1. Yeah, right. Like I am supposed to believe there is a man out there that can fit a dozen donuts on his erect member.

        1. You’re clearly not subscribed to my Instagram.

          1. Is it HughAkstonRidesHugePistons?

            1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
              go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,, http://Onlinereviewtech.com

    2. Them lacing their glaze with meth was my first thought too!!! LOL

      In all honesty though, their donuts are pretty solid… But over hyped at this point. There are plenty of random doughnut places that make them just as good.

  2. Two field tests of the “rock-like substance” gave “a positive indication for the presence of amphetamines.”

    Law enforcement off all people should know how addictive those doughnuts can be.

    1. FoE, you, of all literate peeps, should know that you should have inserted a comma after enforcement and people.

    2. Did they not try smelling it? The sugary smell should have been a tip off that it wasn’t meth. Cops are so fucking stupid. Even Chief Wiggum would have figured this out. he probably would have called in an expert on donut glaze to verify. One Mr. Homer Simpson. Although my guess is that there wouldn’t have been any glaze left after the ‘testing’.

    3. My guess is that the doughnuts were seized and consumed by the cops. When will we finally reform our asset forfeiture laws?!

  3. “I recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” she wrote.

    Evidence!

    1. Expecting a bunch of low I.Q. individuals, and they are quite definitely low I.Q. by design, to be able to handle chemical testing is so ludicrous that it boggles the mind. Police unions don’t want smart people for the job, yet they keep piling on work that demands a smarter individual.

      It’s enough to make one think it’s a system designed to vacuum up as many innocent people as possible.

      1. This was before she even did the test! All her training and experience lead her to believe that sugar glaze was drugs.

    2. You’d think after eleven years as a cop, he would have more quickly recognized it as doughnut glaze!
      (low-hanging fruit)

      1. “She”,a make believe cop,like the Meter Maid on Wheels who arrested me.

    3. I hope she’s been reassigned to the woman’s dorm in the jail. Where all female cops belong.

  4. I was sequestered in a hotel room recently on a business trip and I was watching some reality show, tales of Australian Customs. How basically covered the intense, riveting day–to-day of the ‘Australian TSA’ in their grueling jobs protecting the Down Under from the scourge of… well, pretty innocuous stuff.

    Each particular incident was coupled with dramatic music, and in almost every case, netted bupkis, and simply held elderly Asian couples for hours in detention while their Shampoo products were suspected of being Meth in solution. They busted some poor Chinese tourist for having some moon cakes in her bag, and, well, after several hours of this shit, that was about it. Total net: 4 moon cakes. High fives all around.

    1. inept performance of the drug test, such field kits are notoriously unreliable and may react to a wide range of legal substances.

      Yeah, shit gets false positives on Shampoo.

    2. Some moon cakes have whole eggs in them. They’re cooked obviously, but you can never be too safe when it comes to protecting the pristine Australian ecosystem from whatever.

  5. At that point Riggs-Hopkins “observed in plain view a rock-like substance on the floor board where his feet were.”

    Nice. In a Northern city in the winter time they could bust every car that drives by after a bit of snow falls, given that it’s impossible to walk around outside without getting some rock salt on the soles of your shoes.

  6. This story has it all. Drugs, Guns, and Krispy Kreme Donuts. Who is going to Play Officer Riggs (-Hopkins) in the based on a true story movie?

    1. And, who will play Murtaugh?

  7. Man Busted for Meth That Was Actually Donut Glaze

    I was under the impression that cops knew their doughnuts.

    1. I thought so too, the academy must be suffering cutbacks.

    2. Evidently, eleven years of training can overcome that natural instinct.

      1. Training: black person in car, ergo, prohibition violation. Straight out of the dry killer academy manual.

    3. In fairness, Krispy Kremes

  8. This would def make an interesting movie! I do much of the concrete repairs in Baton Rouge so they could use my company for the sets and props. This is hilarious none the less.

    1. Ot at least a good ‘Simpsons’ episode.

  9. The maker of field tests must be a great business to be in. They don’t even need to work. I wonder what else doesn’t even work.

    1. In fact, you can probably charge a premium based on how high your false alarm rate is. “My field drug test will tell you whatever you want it to tell you. And it’s cheaper than a dog.”

      1. “My field drug test will tell you whatever you want it to tell you. And it’s cheaper than a dog.”

        And neither should be worth anything in establishing probable cause, given the history of known false positives.

        1. A great point, honestly. It’s only ‘probable cause’ because they keep pretending they know what they’re talking about when empirically we can show that for a lie. It’s a hold-over from when the law really was essentially ‘he said, she said’ and the cops word was held at a higher level than the accused.

          That’s a scary holdover in the justice system, to be sure.

    2. Well, we already know the FBI’s genetic testing basically consisted of wishes and unicorns so why would we expect a better result from local cops doing field chemical analysis?

  10. she “recognized, through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer, the substance to be some sort of narcotic.”

    Utter bullshit. A big part of the problem is that anyone believes shit like that for even a second. One whitish crystalline substance looks pretty much like another.

    It seems like pretty common knowledge that cops routinely lie to make their jobs easier, or to establish probably cause for search or arrest. Yet people still believe obvious bullshit like that.

    1. Yet people still believe obvious bullshit like that.

      Not people, DAs and courts.

      1. Good point, the whole system is one big house of cards all based upon trusting the other guy to do their job properly, so I can be lazy and make a short cut.

        Cop trusts Field test will not give false positives, so relies exclusively on field test. FBI lab technicians trust Cop is doing their job, so just rubber stamp that it is what the cop says it is. DA trusts that the Cop and the Lab technician and the Field test are all working as intended, so of course its a simple conviction. Judge Trusts that Field test, Cop, Lab Technician, and DA would do their job properly so of course they guy is guilty, despite the defense attorneys suggestion to the contrary. Appeals judge trusts that the Judge looked over everything so was probably just a standard appeal for the sake of appealing. Public shocked when they learn people are sent to prison and Field test, Cop, Lab Technician, DA, judge and appeals judge did not realize someone was convicted for a crumb of frosting. (yes I realize that I went well beyond what actually happen, just expanding an example)

    2. Cops are well versed on the threshold required by precedent. As they should be. But in their zeal to stop crime, make another arrest, look good to other cops, or score free donuts at the local Krispy Kreme, they can sometimes ignore the law. And more significantly, common sense.

      By qualifying their suspicions with the previously proven “through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer” BS, it meets the threshold.

      Woo hoo—I made another arrest. Free donuts all around!

  11. You’d think a cop would have no problem recognizing donut glaze.

    recently received $37,500 from the city of Orlando

    How much of that $37,500 came directly from the arresting officer, and how much from the OPD pension fund? Because if the combined number is less than “all of it,” i guarantee no lesson will be learned.

  12. I can’t see in any of the linked articles if he got his handgun returned. It’s not something you can assume.

  13. Gee, cops making a bad bust! Who’d a thunk?

    Cases like this should be expunged or have an automatic ‘compensatory’ payment levied every time it interferes or comes up. Trying to open a security business? Have the PD guarantee his loans and become his mandatory customer! Then, as their security consultant, he could administer the class.

    There is a widespread notion that cops are supposed to be authority figures and that they must be right, regardless the actual facts. The cruel irony and brutal fact is that they are at best ‘human’ and at worst ‘human’, no different than anyone else. They should be respected, but only as far as well bred courtesy goes. Beyond that, or relying upon a shaky concept of ‘law’, is where the bad things live. Then again, lack of courtesy can be a real problem in any endeavor.

    1. That still leaves aside the problem that this guy’s mugshot and arrest record are plastered all over the internet, forever.

  14. So now Canadian tax payers are on the hook for the tab. The cop that made the arrest needs to be fired. His boss needs to be demoted.

  15. To be fair to the cops, the donuts are more addictive and worse for you.

  16. Eat donuts like a thug, get treated like a thug.

    If you don’t have anything to hide…….

    He’s actually quite fortunate ofc. Shelby Fife didn’t just shit pants and start shooting.

  17. > she “recognized, through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer, the substance to be some sort of narcotic.”

    Of course, neither meth nor cocaine is a narcotic. They are both stimulants.

    1. And thus, the ignorance of almost every person involved with the “war on drugs” should be understood! I bet only 5% know that fact!

    2. “Of course, neither meth nor cocaine is a narcotic. They are both stimulants.”

      Of course sugar is a stimulant. If you don’t believe me watch kids after Halloween.

  18. RE: Man Busted for Meth That Was Actually Donut Glaze Gets $37,500 for His Trouble

    He would’ve gotten $375,000 if they were chocolate glazed donuts instead of plain donuts.
    Hopefully he will learn his lesson next time.

  19. This is the kind of situation where the cop should be court ordered to be placed in stocks and publicly humiliated by the public.

  20. Gosh… a whole reprimand! How is it that jackbooted minions have unions, graft, pull, immunity? Besides the LP, is there a union to protect ordinary citizens from prohibitionist goons with guns?

  21. I have personal experience with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and can confirm that they are more addicting than crack or meth!

  22. A lousy $37,500? A false arrest is a lot to go through. But I hafta concede it only took two years of pain & aggravation. His good lawyer musta got the other half of the 75Gs.

  23. If police in general, and drug cops in particular, weren’t so dangerously above the law, I’d find something humorous in the image of a brave defender of public safety on his knees, sniffing around the floorboard of my car, looking for the random flakes of white or green stuff. What a hero. What a joke.

  24. That settlement should have had the decimal point moved at least two places to the right.
    And the Cpl is a moron.

  25. You realize that if it were illegal to seel Krispy Kreme donuts were illegal this would have never have happened.

    There should be a law that…..

  26. The major purpose of a web directory is to provide directory users with a categorized list of high quality websites from a chosen field or industry.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.