A woman has filed a federal lawsuit after Georgia police mistook a bag of cotton candy for methamphetamine, causing her to spend three months behind bars, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Dasha Fincher is suing the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, two of its deputies and the maker of a drug testing company.
The case, filed Nov. 15 in United States District Court, stems from an incident on New Year’s Eve 2016, when police pulled over Fincher and a passenger, David Morris Jr.
Deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson initially alleged the vehicle’s tinted windows were too dark, but they later concluded the tints were not illegal, according to WMAZ-TV.
Yet because Fincher and Morris allegedly had suspended licenses, the deputies subsequently searched the vehicle, The Telegraph reports. The deputies discovered a “plastic bag filled with a blue crystal-like substance in the passenger side floorboard,” according to an incident report obtained by WMAZ-TV.
The report stated Fincher was “very anxious” and “shaking” when police asked her about what was inside the bag, which she said contained cotton candy.
The lawsuit claims that police dash cam video tells a different story – that Fincher and Morris were calm.
The deputies later used a roadside kit to test the bag and reportedly obtained a positive result for meth.
Fincher and Morris were subsequently arrested; Fincher was reportedly charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute and trafficking meth. She was jailed on $1 million bond, and because she couldn’t afford to pay that amount, she stayed behind bars while her case proceeded through the courts.
Then three months later, in March 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation tested the contents of the bag, and this time it did not test positive for any drugs.
Fincher was later released from jail and the charges were dropped.
The lawsuit alleges that Fincher missed “several serious life events” while in jail, which included the birth of two grandchildren and a miscarriage by a daughter.
The suit claims the test kit has a “history of producing false positive results,” that the deputies should have known this, and that it would be unlikely for someone to keep such a large bag of methamphetamine in plain view in a vehicle. The lawsuit further contends that the county failed to properly train the deputies how to search for drugs.
Fincher is seeking punitive damages and court costs.
Monroe County officials did not comment to WMAZ-TV.