A Brooklyn man has filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department after he was mistakenly arrested for possession of crystal meth.
According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Smoking Gun, Love Olatunjiojo, 25, was stopped by two cops in late June when he was walking with a friend in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, N.Y., after the two bought candy, including Jolly Ranchers, at a store called It’Sugar.
When the two police officers searched Olatunjiojo and his friend and found the Jolly Ranchers, they remarked that it was “only a matter of time before they found something,” the lawsuit said. Olatunjiojo was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
One of the cops who made the arrest stated in a criminal court complaint that he and his partner had recovered “a quantity of methamphetamine” from Olatunjiojo. The cop also said he had “professional training as a police officer in the identification of methamphetamine,” and that a field test of the substances recovered came back positive for narcotics.
The only problem? Olatunjiojo and his friend were not in possession of meth or other narcotics. As The Smoking Gun points out, a test at the NYPD’s Controlled Substance Analysis Section revealed that the two red crystalline rocks and four blue crystalline rocks were in fact Jolly Ranchers.
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Despite the test, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office still had a narcotics count pending against Olatunjiojo until a Sept. 19 court hearing, when the charges were dropped.
Now, Olatunjiojo has decided to file a lawsuit for “emotional trauma and suffering” and “violation of his New York State constitutional rights” as a result of the false arrest.
“I don’t know if these cops have been watching ‘Breaking Bad,’ but my client is not Walter White,” said Olatunjiojo’s lawyer, Kenneth Smith, in reference to the popular television show about a teacher who cooks and sells meth. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday.
Mike Levine, a former agent for the DEA, told the New York Daily News that crystal meth and Jolly Ranchers can sometimes look 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.”