NYPD Busts Man After Mistaking Mints For Ecstasy


A New Yorker who was arrested near his Brooklyn home for possession of several Ecstasy pills was actually carrying breath mints, a discovery that forced prosecutors to drop a criminal charge against the man, who is now suing for false arrest.

Robert Hankins, 46, was arrested on April 2 at 2:30 PM by NYPD Officer Sean Nurse, according to a Criminal Court complaint. Nurse reported observing Hankins in possession of “a plastic bag containing a quantity of” Ecstasy.

NYPD Busts Man After Mistaking Mints For Ecstasy

The complaint noted that Nurse had “professional training” in the identification of Ecstasy, and that he “previously made arrests for the criminal possession” of the drug. Additionally, the plastic bag seized from Hankins was “a commonly used method of packaging such substance.”

The purported Ecstasy pills, however, were actually Pow brand mints, a discovery that prompted Brooklyn prosecutors in October to dismiss a drug possession charge against Hankins.

According to a federal lawsuit filed last week by attorney Gabriel Harvis, Hankins alleges that he was improperly stopped and searched by NYPD cops near his Herkimer Street residence. After the mints were found in his pants pocket, Hankins was handcuffed.

“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 complaint contends. The cops allegedly refused the request, and then “falsely arrested Mr. Hankins for possession of the mints.”

Hankins was first transported to the 79th Precinct in Bedford Stuyvesant and then later taken to Brooklyn Central Booking before being arraigned in Criminal Court (where a judge released him on his own recognizance). Hankins’s lawsuit estimates that he spent 30 hours in custody.

While at the Brooklyn precinct, “Mr. Hankins continued to explain to the officers that they were arresting him for mints.”

Hankins, who made several court appearances before the narcotics charge was dropped October 3, accuses Nurse and other unnamed NYPD officials of false arrest, unlawful stop and search, malicious prosecution, and denial of constitutional rights.

In October, a New York City man filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD after he was arrested on a Brooklyn street for possession of methamphetamine. In fact, the six “crystalline rocks of solid material” that were seized by police were blue and red Jolly Rancher candies.


One Response

  1. Cops are overzealous assholes with mommy issues, daddy issues, feelings of lesser self worth, post high school jock syndrome, megalomaniac tendencies, out of control god complex, …. just plain twisted in some way. Many are addicted to the adrenaline rush they get on the job. They are not to be trusted in any way and avoided when possible. When confronted by them remember the 5 Words: “I have nothing to say”. Clam up until you can get a lawyer. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being brutalized, it is quite ok to defend yourself. But remember, they are like n-words. They tend to gang up on you with overwhelming force as they are individually weak and sissified, especially the women who put on the air of toughness, but as always are the weaker sex.

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