Busted for Breath Mints in Brooklyn


BROOKLYN (CN) - Confusing breath mints with Ecstasy pills, an NYPD officer wrongly arrested a man as he walked through Brooklyn, the man claims in Federal Court.
     Robert Hankins says he was walking through a Brooklyn neighborhood in April when he was stopped and searched by New York City Police Officer Sean Nurse and other unknown officers. When Nurse spotted the mints in Hankins' pants pocket, he arrested him.
     "Mr. Hankins explained to the officers that what they had found were mints and not drugs and asked the officers look at and smell them to confirm," the lawsuit states. "The officers refused to do so."
     Again at the 79th Precinct Hankins tried to explain to officers that he had been arrested for possession of mints, but officers filed bogus paperwork falsely stating they saw him in possession of MDMA, or Ecstasy, Hankins claims.
     He was held for 30 hours, and was forced to return to court several times to defend himself against the bogus charges before they were dismissed in October, Hankins says.
     He seeks damages and punitive damages for civil rights violations, unlawful stop and search and false arrest.
     He is represented by Gabriel Harvis with Harvis Wright & Fett.