Three men accused of possessing meth when they actually just had Jolly Ranchers were awarded $33,000 in a settlement with the NYPD, who arrested them last year outside of candy store It'Sugar in Coney Island.
"To my knowledge there is no evidence in the scientific literature that crystal meth looks like Jolly Ranchers or rock candy, other than from the Breaking Bad TV show," their lawyer, Kenneth Smith, told the New York Daily News. "Walter White may dictate what drugs look like in TV land, but not the narcotics policy of the NYPD."
Police claim they had no way of knowing if the little blue and red rocks were candy or meth—Jolly Rancher-branded wrappers and the men exiting a candy store notwithstanding.
At the time, an undercover cop claimed he saw Love Olatunjiojo, 26, and Omar Ferriera 23, selling drugs. After officers started handcuffing the men, their friend, Jimmy Santos, 27, who was waiting outside the store with his daughter, challenged the arrest as wrongful, and was also arrested by police.
A field test of the Jolly Ranchers allegedly tested "positive," though an NYPD lab test later concluded that they were not in fact meth. But apparently the field test was never actually conducted. From the New York Daily News:
After the suit was filed, Smith said he was informed by the city that there was in fact no drug field test performed and that the cops insisted the district attorney's officer was never told otherwise.
Olatunjiojo and Ferriera will pocket $4,000 each and $25,000 to Sano to settle their claims, according to papers filed last month. Olatunjiojo and Ferriera will receive less because the cops determined during the booking process that there were outstanding bench warrants against them for failing to show up in court for quality of life summonses.
Smith said the summonses were not for drug-related violations.