A brief explanation of civil lawsuits
A woman claims she was targeted by Horry County police — via actions that included an unnecessary SWAT raid — at her home, according to a lawsuit.
Hafida Osborn filed suit against Horry police, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Phillip Thompson. Director of J. Reuben Long Detention Center Wayne Owners, Horry police officers Matthew Singleton, Amy Hardwick, Jack Johnson and Chief Joe Hill. Pansy Rabon and Michael Benton were also named as defendants.
The suit was filed on Saturday in Horry County court.
Osborn said “she has been treated and continues to be treated as a second-rate citizen by Horry County Government through its police department and sheriff’s department,” according to the suit.
Osborn provided care for Carl Benton — father of Rabon and Michael Benton. But, the suit claims, the two children had abandoned their father and refused to help in his health situation. Carl Benton gave Osborn his power of attorney and changed his will to leave property to Osborn and nothing to his children.
Michael Benton made statements against Osborn and made comments to law enforcement, the suit states. Michael Benton threatened his father on several occasions and refused to pay rent owed on his father’s farm. The filing claims that Michael Benton said he would see his father dead before paying him.
The suit says Hardwick and Singleton are friends of Rabon and Benton.
Carl Benton died in March 2017 and Hardwick and Singleton used a warrant on Osborn’s home. Police say Osborn gave consent to search, but she claims she never did and her signature was forged, the suit states.
Singleton later arrested Osborn on charges or abuse of a vulnerable adult resulting in death, according to the filing.
Police took Osborn to J. Reuben Long, where staff refused to provide medication for her diabetes, the lawsuit states. The suit also claims that Singleton took two days to serve the arrest warrant.
After being released from jail, Osborn lived at a residence off U.S. Highway 501 that had a shared door with another unit. In February 2018, Rickey Carroll lived in the apartment next door and SWAT went inside to arrest him. While Carroll was detained, he told police the other apartment was occupied by Osborn and her children, according to the filing. The suit states that police still “busted down the door” and held the family at gunpoint.
In July 2019, Singleton refiled the neglect charges, according to the suit, and the case remains active in Horry County circuit court.
Osborn said the four police officers tried to ruin her reputation with the charges and made false statements to accuse her of a crime she did not commit.
The suit says Osborn’s civil rights were violated and the defendants slandered her. It asks for an unspecified amount of money.
Horry County police spokeswoman Mikayla Moskov said it’s county police not to comment on pending litigation.