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Police jail black man for 90 days because they thought his drywall powder was cocaine
Photo via Justin Henry/Flickr (CC-BY)
The department has some explaining to do.
A handyman in Oviedo, Florida spent 90 days in jail after police confused his drywall powder for cocaine.
In March, 57-year-old Karlos Cashe was pulled over by police for driving without his headlights on. Police investigated Cashe’s car and found drywall powder on the seats and floor. A K-9 unit was subsequently brought in, and the unit’s investigation reportedly came back positive for cocaine. After an initial field test reported positive for controlled substances, police arrested Cashe for violating his curfew and possessing cocaine.
Cashe was previously on probation after being arrested on marijuana and cocaine charges in 2015. But Cashe had not broken the law in March. Lab tests from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement revealed that there was no cocaine in the drywall powder. And reports also reveal that Cashe had not violated his probation curfew, either, because the Oviedo Police Department’s criminal database wasn’t up-to-date. Both arrest charges were dropped, and Cashe walked free in late June.
But after spending three months in jail over false charges, Cashe demands answers. And accountability.
“I want some compensation for them. When I make a mistake, I’ve got to pay for it, that’s why I was on probation. It’s no different for them,” Cashe said, according to the Root.
Meanwhile, the Oviedo Police Department is standing by their arrest, even though they admit that the charges should be dropped.
“There’s no intent, when something comes back positive, we take it; it’s our probable cause and that’s why we send to FDLE to confirm,” Oviedo Police Department Lt. Heather Capetillo said to Fox35 Orlando.
Cashe’s arrest ushers in larger questions about police bias against black citizens. Earlier this month in Florida, police harassed a young black man for jaywalking. Footage of Philando Castile’s shooting at the hands of a Minnesota police officer has also sparked outrage against the American judicial system, with many citizens fearing that police are given a free pass to discriminate against people of color.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Waypoint, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.