Man sues Myrtle Beach Police Department, claims officer lied to convict him

·3 min read

A man says a Myrtle Beach police officer lied in order to charge him with a crime he didn’t commit, costing the man his job, according to a lawsuit.

Ronald Thomas Uhrie said he was falsely accused of soliciting a prostitute and possessing marijuana by a Myrtle Beach Police Department officer. The arrest caused him to be fired from his job as a diesel mechanic at Sunbelt Rentals, where he was considered an “exemplary employee” for nine years, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that Myrtle Beach City Government, the Myrtle Beach Police Department and Officer Mohamed Channani “intentionally violated (Uhrie’s) civil rights, maliciously prosecuted, and abused the process” in order to charge Uhrie with crimes.

The lawsuit claims that Uhrie’s Miranda Rights and Fourth Amendment rights were violated in the legal proceeding. The Fourth Amendment protects a person from unreasonable search and seizure.

The arrest in question took place Aug. 6, 2020, the filing states.

On that day, Uhrie went to a gas station to purchase a drink and scratch-off tickets, according to a lawsuit. He exited the gas station and got into his car. A woman in the parking lot of the gas station began to “wave frantically” at Uhrie. He stopped to speak to her thinking it was someone he may know – it was dark outside and rainy, and he could not see clearly, Uhrie said in the lawsuit.

Uhrie asked the woman if she needed something and she said she “needed more,” the lawsuit states.

The woman, who was an undercover police officer, asked Uhrie for $20 in exchange for a sex act, the lawsuit states.

Uhrie rolled up his window and drove off, according to the lawsuit. About a mile down the road, he was pulled over and arrested on charges of prostitution and possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana. Channani was the arresting officer.

Officer Channani is still employed with the Myrtle Beach Police Department, according to police spokesperson Tom Vest.

Following Uhrie’s arrest, his truck was towed and impounded, for which he was charged an undisclosed amount of money in fees.

He was released on bond the following day, Aug. 7, 2020. The charges against Uhrie were later dismissed, the lawsuit states.

After being fired following his arrest, Uhrie said he was denied unemployment benefits by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, which deemed him ineligible because he was fired for cause.

Uhrie was fired based on false pretenses and false statements presented by Channani, according to the lawsuit.

Channani falsely stated in court that Uhrie had solicited the undercover police officer, the lawsuit states. In doing so, Channani lied to the court in order to convict Uhrie of a crime he did not commit, the filing claims.

Uhrie asks in the lawsuit for money to make up for lost wages, legal fees to cover the false accusations, attorney’s fees for the lawsuit and other damages.

When asked for comment, Vest deferred to Myrtle Beach City Government. “The police department does not typically comment on pending litigation,” he wrote in a text message to a Sun News reporter.

Myrtle Beach City Government spokesperson Mark Kruea said the city does not comment on pending litigation.

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