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Wrongful arrest suit

Posted: November 18, 2010 3:47 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2010 5:00 a.m.

It didn’t come as a surprise to many people in Kershaw County when former County Administrator Bobby Boland and current Utilities Director Russell Wright filed a federal wrongful arrest lawsuit recently against Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office Capt. David Thomley. The resolution of the suit -- whatever that might be -- will bring to an end an unfortunate chapter in Kershaw County politics and law enforcement.

The suit revolves around a sequence of events that occurred in 2007 involving suspected sabotage of the county’s sewer system. Boland could have used better judgment in the way he attempted to pursue an investigation, but there is no evidence that he proceeded with any kind of ill will or malice. Yet Thomley, acting as an agent of the sheriff’s office, arrested Boland and Wright for filing a false police report. So spurious were the charges that 5th Circuit Solicitor Barney Giese dismissed them outright, declaring Boland had no criminal intent in filing a report and that Wright didn’t knowingly report information he knew to be false.

Earlier this year, Kershaw County voters voiced their displeasure with the entire incident when Jim Matthews soundly defeated Thomley, who had the backing of Sheriff Steve McCaskill, in the Republican primary for sheriff. The arrest no doubt played a major part in the election outcome. Boland and Wright are seeking unspecified damages, and if a jury agrees with them, Kershaw County will continue to pay for the unfortunate incident. At the end of the trial, we can look forward to a law enforcement system which will operate in a more even-handed manner.

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