KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- A man is suing the Kissimmee Police Department for an arrest over mints. When officers pulled Donald May over for an expired tag, they thought the mints he was chewing were crack and arrested him.
May told Eyewitness News they wouldn't let him out of jail for three months until tests proved the so-called drugs were candy.
May said he was just minding his business, driving home from work, when a Kissimmee police officer pulled him over near 192.
"I don't know how it occurred," he said.
May was pulled over for an expired tag on his car. When the officer walked up to him, he noticed something white in May's mouth. May said it was breath mints, but the officer thought it was crack cocaine.
"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 explained.
The officer claimed he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs. The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. He also stated in his report May waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily admitted to buying drugs.
May said that never happened.
"My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine. Why would he say that?" attorney Adam Sudbury said.
May was thrown in jail and was unable to bond out for three months. He didn't get out until 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. I lost everything," he said.
While May was behind bars, the Kissimmee Police Department towed his car and auctioned it off. He lost his job and was evicted. Now May 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.
August 19, 2009