City Pays Man $42,500 After Mistaking Candy for Crack

By Nicholas Rizzi on October 23, 2013 9:55am 

 A Staten Island man settled with the city after he was wrongfully arrested for crack cocaine possession. The crack was a peppermint candy he had in his pocket.
A Staten Island man settled with the city after he was wrongfully arrested for crack cocaine possession. The crack was a peppermint candy he had in his pocket.
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Flickr/Tiffany Terry

STATEN ISLAND — The city paid a Staten Island man $42,500 after police accused him of crack possession after finding candy in his pockets, his lawyer said.

George Pringle, 57, a substance abuse counselor, was arrested two years ago after police said the peppermint they found in his pocket was crack cocaine, his lawyers from Leventhal & Klein said.

The city recently settled his lawsuit for false arrest with a $42,500 payment.

“These officers knew it was a piece of candy and intentionally did not field test it,” law firm partner Jason Leventhal said in a statement.

“The NYPD’s failure to require a routine field test for all drug arrests endangers the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers."

On Feb 2. 2011, Pringle was stopped-and-frisked as he walked out of a barber shop. Cops accused him of selling loose cigarettes, then found peppermint candy in his pocket.

Pringle told them it was a mint and they should test it, but officers arrested him for crack cocaine possession, his lawyers said.

He was imprisoned for 27 hours until his arraignment, but the charges were dropped after a lab test confirmed the crack was just a mint.

Pringle sued the city and officers in Brooklyn federal court last year and settled with the city on Oct. 11, 2013.

The city's Law Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

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