He got pulled over, because he was apparently driving without his headlights on. The cop then used the traffic stop as an excuse to interrogate the 31-year-old and search his car. During the search, the cop spotted a bag of powder. A field test indicated that the powdered substance was amphetamine. The man went to jail and remained there for nearly three months before an actual lab test was done on the powder, which revealed that it wasn’t amphetamine, but vitamins. So, they dropped the charges and let him go. CNS News reported:
A Minnesota man says he sat in jail for months on drug charges only to find out there was no evidence against him – because he was actually in possession of vitamins.
ccording to WCCO, Police arrested 31-year-old Joseph Burrell in November for two felony counts of drug possession.
It turns out what appeared to be an illegal substance was really just vitamins.
Burrell was stopped by police for driving without his lights on in November of 2014.
Law enforcement officials say a bag of powder was found in Burrell’s vehicle. A field test was positive for amphetamine.
Burrell was taken to the county jail where he stayed behind bars for nearly three months.
A test done in the crime lab of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showed the bag of powder found in Burrell’s car contained vitamins, but nothing illegal.
Charges were dismissed, as Burrell was about to go to trial this month.
Burrell does reportedly have a long criminal history, which includes drug and assault charges.
Obviously, the guy’s got a rap sheet. But in this instance, it’s irrelevant. Either they didn’t really give the substance a proper field test, or the test is mostly useless. They just assumed that since it was a powder in a bag, it must be something illegal.
Besides that, did driving around without headlights on in a grocery store parking lot really constitute probable cause that a crime had been committed? Since there was no warrant obtained, were the circumstances expedient enough that they didn’t need to take the time to secure a search warrant? I don’t know all the details of that traffic stop, but if all there was to go on was the fact that he didn’t have his headlights on, the only thing they could do was slap him with a ticket. If you’ve done nothing wrong, that doesn’t mean that you have nothing to hide. If you’ve done nothing wrong, then the police have absolutely no reason or Constitutional justification to search you or your car.