An Orlando police officer who arrested a man after mistaking doughnut glaze on his floorboard for amphetamine has been disciplined for making a false arrest, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins didn’t mean to do any harm, the Orlando Police Department concluded. She just didn’t know how to use the department-issued drug test kits. The department had never trained her or anyone else on how to use them, says Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon.
The Sentinel published a story about the arrest on July 28. On Sept. 19, Police Chief John Mina ordered every sworn officer to be trained on how to use the kits. Daniel Rushing, 65, the man who was falsely arrested, has sued the city and the manufacturer of the kits, Safariland, LLC, a company based in Jacksonville. When Riggs-Hopkins pulled Rushing over for a traffic violation, she spotted a “rock like substance on the floor board” and suspected it was crack cocaine. “I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” she wrote. Rushing said, “I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut.’ … They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, ‘No, it’s meth, crystal meth,’ ” Rushing said.