December 12, 2017  Last Update: November 27, 2017, 8:52 pm

Busted for Breath Mints in Brooklyn

NYC man arrested for possession of POW! breath mints.

NYC man arrested for possession of POW! breath mints.

Imagine being arrested for having the audacity to have fresh breath? That’s just what happened to Ron Hankins of Brooklyn, NY. According to a recent federal suit, Hankins was arrested for possession of Ecstasy. The only problem? The loose white pellets the cops found in his possession were, in fact, “Pow!” breath mints.

“Mr Hankins explained to the officers that what they had found were mints and not drugs and asked the officers to look at and smell them to confirm,” the suit states. According to the NY Post, Hankins’ attorney Gabriel Harvis said, “He told [the officers] to break them up, to sniff them, to do whatever they had to do. But they didn’t.”

According to the suit, Hankins was handcuffed and taken to a local precinct for possession of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. He spent 30 hours behind bars before being eventually released. While in custody, he continued to explain to officers that they were arresting him for mints.

Situations like this put cops in a precarious position. Drugs are everywhere, and it’s unreasonable to expect peace officers to ‘sniff’ suspicious substances to determine whether or not they’re safe. Many people will lie when arrested, so merely asserting that those loose pellets that appear to be drugs are in fact candy can’t be enough to let a suspect go.

It seems reasonable to ‘arrest’ a suspect while you figure out the truth. But is 30 hours behind bars reasonable? And if the police don’t have the resources to determine the truth, should they be enforcing the law in cases where there isn’t hard evidence that the materials in question are controlled substances?

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Arrested for Breath Mints - cops suspected ecstasy pills
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