CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County has paid out more than $750,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit involving the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.
Akiliou Smith sued Charleston County, the Sheriff’s Office and pair of deputies for their actions in a case of mistaken identity. On Dec. 7, 2015, Deputies James Jacko and Donald Stanley responded to a suspected burglary on Kano Street on Johns Island.
A woman came home to find a man in her house. He identified himself and left the home when she asked. The woman then called 911 Charleston County deputies responded.
According to the lawsuit, Smith said a man shining a flashlight approached him outside his home about an hour later. Smith said the man never identified himself as law enforcement so he ran inside the home, locked the door and called 911.
Smith claimed he was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher when deputies Jacko and Stanley kicked in his door without consent or a search warrant. They handcuffed him in front of his family and took him outside to be identified as the suspected burglar. Smith didn't match the description or the name given by the homeowner and the woman told deputies he wasn't the suspect.
Smith sued for violations of his civil rights and false imprisonment. A jury awarded Smith $600,000 in losses and $159,000 in legal expenses.