Man forced out of home at gunpoint now suing Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office claims a man’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was forced out of his home at gunpoint.

Akiliou Smith, who is being represented by McLeod Law Group, was home with his family when sheriff’s deputies kicked in his door without a warrant, forced him down at gunpoint, handcuffed him and forced him out of his home, the suit alleges.

Authorities were searching for a suspect in the area after a woman complained of a man in her home.

Both the suspect and Smith were black men, but similarities between them ended there, according to Smith’s attorneys. After seeing Smith, the woman who contacted deputies reported that he was not the suspect, Smith’s attorneys said.

“The family believes this is a case where somebody could have been killed or further seriously injured,” attorney Mullins McLeod said in a statement. “The officers ignored basic protocol and Mr. Smith’s constitutional rights.”

Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Watson said the office learned of the lawsuit Tuesday through local media outlets.

“Just like in any other civil matter, these are allegations that will be addressed in the proper forum,” he said.

Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908.