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Man Awarded Nearly $270K for False Cocaine Arrest in Florida

The Leon County, Fl., Sheriff's Office has been ordered to pay nearly $270,000 to a man who was wrongfully arrested for possession of a substance that turned out to be sugar, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The 2018 arrest came after sheriff's deputy James Dills saw Miles Evora roll through a stop sign. Evora denied that the traffic violation occurred, but it apparently gave Dills permission to search his car. Dills found a white substance on the floorboard that he believed was crack cocaine "based on (his) training and experience." In his initial narrative, Dills wrote, "I was able to retrieve a piece of the substance which upon a closer look, confirmed my suspicion and belief that the substance was crack cocaine." He maintained that the substance tested positive for crack in a "field test," but no record of such a test exists.

Dills restrained Evora, who appears to have resisted slightly. In response to this resistance, Dills forced Evora to the ground and used a Taser on him. Evora was taken to receive medical attention before he was jailed on charges of possession of a controlled substance, resisting an officer without violence, and battery of an officer. In 2019, about a year after the arrest, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement tested the white substance and determined that it was not cocaine, but sugar, which Evora said was icing from a pastry. The charges against Evora were immediately dropped. Dills is not under investigation and has never been disciplined for Evora's arrest. This month a unanimous jury found that Dills did not have probable cause to restrain Evora and that his actions caused Evora damages.


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