Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Florida man spends three months in jail for possession of breath mints

Donald May is suing the Kissimmee, Fla. Police Department for his arrest over breath mints that were thought to be crack.

May was originally pulled over for an expired tag, but police officers thought the mints were an illegal substance and arrested May. reported that May told Eyewitness News that police wouldn't let him out of jail for three months until the tests proved the mints were candy.

May said he was just driving home from work when an officer pulled him over. He said when the officer walked up to him, the officer noticed something white in his mouth.

"He took them out of my mouth and put them in a baggy and locked me up [for] possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence," May said.

The officer said he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs. He said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. In the police report, the officer said May admitted to buying drugs. May said that never happened.

"My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine," said Attorney Adam Sudbury. "Why would he say that?"

Regardless, May spent the next three months in a jail because he was unable to pay his bond. He was released when he received a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office that test results showed no drugs were found.

"While I was sitting in jail I lost my apartment," May said. "I lost everything." reported that while May was behind bars, the Kissimmee Police Department towed his car and auctioned it off.

May said he also lost his job and was evicted. Now he is suing the city for false arrest and false imprisonment. He wants to be compensated for the loss of his car and job. May's attorney and the city of Kissimmee discussed a possible settlement last year, but failed to reach an agreement.