An Oviedo, Florida man, Karlos Cashe, 57, was arrested and jailed for 90 days when the police mistook powdered drywall in his vehicle for cocaine. Cashe was stopped by police in Florida last March, for the relatively minor traffic violation of driving without headlights because they were “busted.” When a police officer noticed a white powdery-looking substance on the seat of Cashe’s vehicle and on its floorboard, he was accused of possessing cocaine.
The New York Daily News reported that when the Florida police pulled Cashe over, the handyman was on probation for cocaine and marijuana charges from an arrest in 2015. According to the New York Post, the date he was pulled over was on March 22.
WTSP 10 News reported that when Cashe was stopped in Oviedo, Florida, he was not especially concerned, because he knew he did not have any drugs in his vehicle, just drywall. He also had tools in his car, which he used to perform odd jobs, because he was a handyman.
Later, Cashe said in an interview with WFTV that he knew “for a fact” that the powdery substance the police had found was drywall and not cocaine. However, a field test and a K-9 unit helped convince the police that Cashe was not telling them the truth.
When the K-9 unit alerted, barking at various points at different scents coming from Cashe’s vehicle, the police officers took the response to mean it was a positive indication that the dogs detected drugs. Authorities said when the white powdery substance the arresting officers discovered in Cashe’s vehicle was field tested, the results showed the substance tested positive, seemingly vindicating the initial assumption of the police officers and the response by the K-9 unit. That was enough “proof” for them to place Cashe under arrest.
In a video of the arrest, one officer tells the other one that it looked like Cashe had just crushed up a gram of cocaine “when he saw you.” Police officers who arrested Cashe transported him to the Seminole County Jail, where he was booked.
After further tests also indicated the drywall was cocaine, and because he was on probation Cashe was ordered by a judge to be held without bond pending his trial. It was not until 90 days later that lab results on the white powdery substance found in the handyman’s car came back negative, finally proving the claims that Cashe had been making all along, that the substance was not cocaine but was drywall.
Cashe told a reporter from WFTV Orlando that he had sat in the Seminole County Jail, knowing he was innocent, for “90 days.” Cashe said in the WFTV interview that he had “continuously” told the arresting officers the substance was drywall, not cocaine, “during the arrest stop.” He said he told them he knew the difference because he was “a handyman.”
Karlos Cashe, of Oviedo, Florida, spent 90 days of his life in Seminole County Jail when police officers during a routine traffic stop mistook powdered drywall in his car for cocaine. Last week, Cashe was finally released from jail. He said he wants an internal investigation conducted “within the Oviedo Police Department,” so that what happened to him does not “happen to anybody else.” He believes that because he is a black man, the police racially profiled him. In an interview with News 6, he said it was not the first time he has been racially profiled, but it “was just the worst of those times.”
By John Samuels
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