Can you tell the difference between hand soap and cocaine? Congratulations, you are already more qualified than Pennsylvania state police and their field test manufacturer, Safariland, LLC. Unfortunately for Alexander Bernstein, police had the power to hold him for 29 days, keeping him from his family and toddler during Thanksgiving. Now Bernstein is suing for the the blunder, seeking $150,000 in damages.
The Allentown Morning Call reports on Nov. 16 that Bernstein believes police not only knew the soap wasn’t cocaine, but that the tests they used were known to be unreliable. He says that the ordeal not only cost him a valuable month of his life behind bars, but also thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Bernstein was traveling to visit his sister in Florida and had some homemade soap in the car he was bringing to her as a gift. The soap was in some plastic packages held together with red tape in the trunk. When police stopped the vehicle for speeding they claimed to smell marijuana and requested to search the vehicle. Having nothing to hide, Bernstein and his travelling companion, Annadel Cruz, consented to the search.
Police then applied a field test to the packages and claimed they came back positive. However, Bernstein states that troopers could later be heard discussing that the field test came back negative, with one saying to “make it positive.”
"All the laboratory tests performed on the substance which the operator claimed, from the beginning, constituted nothing more than soap, confirmed that the package contained no cocaine, and no other drugs or controlled substances, but merely soap," the suit states.
Bernstein had initially been held on a $500,000 bond before it was gradually reduced, eventually getting down to a level he could afford, nearly $33,000. The charges were eventually dropped, because transporting soap is not a crime in Pennsylvania, no matter how hard the troopers there attempt to manipulate the evidence.
By Bob Knudsen - Examiner/Nov. 17, 2015
Photo: You Tube
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