Usually, an open container of washing detergent is not an incriminating substance - except for one unlucky Florida fellow who spent 41 days in jail because of it. Yeah, you heard that right, the arresting officer made a mistake anyone could make - he mistook the soapy, smelly detergent for heroin.
According to the Miami Herald, 29-year-old Matt Crull said he was falsely arrested in December for possessing heroin in Martin County, Florida when officer Steven O’Leary mistook his bag of Tide laundry detergent for the drug. The cop was fired for 11 false drug charges.
What adds insult to injury is the fact that this was not the first time O'Leary had falsely accused innocent people of drug possession. Sheriff William Snyder said O'Leary was fired after an investigation revealed at least 11 people he arrested for drugs charges were actually found innocent. Admittedly, that seems a little too often to be coincidental.
The "baggy" weighed 92 grams, and O’Leary claimed a field test proved it was heroin, but never actually showed the results to Crull. Crull was facing charges of trafficking heroin, which carries a penalty of 25 years under certain circumstances.
Crull was put away for over a month with a steep bond while the case was being investigated - an experience he called "surreal": “(It’s) very surreal when you’re sitting in jail with a half a million dollars bond,” Crull told WPBF25.
Crull has been thinking about suing for damages; as not only did it steal several weeks of his life away, but something like this can have very negative effects especially in personal and work-related situations.
Before Crull was found innocent his mugshot and pending charges were already made public. Despite Crull knowing he was innocent, it was an action that could have unfairly destroyed his reputation.
Thankfully Crull stated it "didn't ruin his life," but still caused a lot of stress for him and his family.
Thanks to the police force doing their due diligence, Crull was released a free man with a voice who is able to share his story and reclaim his innocence, along with the 11 others who were falsely accused. The same can not be said for O'Leary, who is now the subject of further investigation.