Man files wrongful arrest suit against Berkeley Co. Sheriff’s Office, Santee Police

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:23 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:38 PM EST
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BERKELEY, S.C. (WCSC) - An Orangeburg County man is suing the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office and the Santee Police Department after he says he was wrongfully arrested and put in jail.

That lawsuit filed in Berkeley County is accusing the two law enforcement agencies of false arrest, defamation and gross negligence.

The suit alleges Tovya Gathers was told he had a potential warrant out for his arrest in Berkeley County. According to court documents, Gathers said he had not broken the law, so he met with sheriff’s office officials to fix the issue and was told there was no warrant out and therefore no error to correct in the system.

Fast forward to November of 2019, the lawsuit says Gathers was riding in the car with his wife when she was pulled over by an officer with the Santee Police Department.

The suit states Gathers was asked to show his ID, was then told there was a warrant for his arrest and was arrested.

Gathers was taken to the Orangeburg County Jail and then the Berkeley County Jail, where, according to the suit, he stayed overnight until his wife was able to meet with sheriff’s office officials and prove they were wrong to arrest Gathers, especially after previously claiming there was no warrant.

The suit claims Gathers’ mugshot was also posted in the “Busted Newspaper.”

The lawsuit alleges the sheriff’s office knew Gathers was not the subject of the warrant and did not take steps to withdraw the warrant.

According to the lawsuit, Gathers suffered emotional distress, humiliation, injury to his personal and professional reputation and other damages.

Gathers is seeking compensation to cover the damages and attorney’s fees.

Officials with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office said they do not respond to pending litigation. We also reached out to the Santee Police Department and Town of Santee but did not receive a response before the time of publication.

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