NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An 18-year-old wrongfully arrested by the North Charleston Police Department has finally reached a settlement with the city.
Shanece Mitchell had big plans for her senior year at Stall High School. She was an amazing basketball player, an honor roll student, and involved in several extracurriculars. But that all changed on October 29, 2019.
“I called my mom and she was like, ‘the police are at the house and they’re like you were involved in a fight and they’re trying to come get you,” said wrongfully arrested victim, Shanece Mitchell.
“It’s not me, they got the wrong person,” Shanece said.
In May of 2019, a fight broke out after the Baptist Hill Prom at an IHOP. Shanece didn’t attend Baptist Hill nor was she at the prom.
Nearly six months later Shanece said North Charleston Police showed up at her door with a warrant for her arrest. Shanece was at work at the time so her mom, Debra, told police she’d bring Shanece to the station in the morning.
The next day Shanece said she was put in handcuffs and arrested, no questions asked.
“Even the lady that was doing my fingerprints and stuff in jail, she was like, ‘you’re so calm and everything,’ and I’m like, ‘because I didn’t do anything, and I’m in jail for no reason,'” said Shanece.
Shanece played AAU basketball. The night the fight broke out she was out of town for a tournament, something her coach at the time tried to vouch for.
“We had proof that I was out of town, also, so I don’t understand,” Shanece said. “They were not listening.”
“She [the coach] had the roster of the information showing that she had proof she wasn’t here,” said Debra Mitchell, Shanece’s mother.
Debra said she tried several times to defend her daughter’s innocence.
“We don’t know where they got her name from,” said Debra.
Shanece’s mug shot went viral around her school. After her arrest, Shanece said she stopped hearing from schools that were originally scouting her for college.
“I had multiple, different schools looking at me,” said Shanece.
Now Shanece and her mother say they’re just looking for an apology.
“Apologize for what you did to her, you know?” Debra said. “If she did something wrong…”
“I would’ve admitted to it,” said Shanece.
The detective leading the case, Simon Andrews, retired two days after Shanece’s wrongful arrest.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” Debra said. “You’re not being held accountable for what you did, so they let you retire from the department. And you’re about to destroy someone’s life.”
News 2 reached out to the North Charleston Police Department for comment.
A spokesperson for the department responded to the request with the following statement:
“Olivia, Thank you for offering us the opportunity to provide our perspective, however Chief Burgess and the North Charleston Police Department decline to comment or provide a statement in this case.”
Fortunately, Shanece was recently able to reach a settlement with the city for the nine hours she said she spent in jail.
Her attorney, Mark Peper issued a statement to News 2 on behalf of Shanece:
“The reckless failure of this officer to positively identify the true suspect before securing a warrant caused my client to be arrested for something she had absolutely nothing to do with. This cannot be tolerated and should serve as a reminder to all law enforcement of how important it is to perform a full and thorough investigation before taking away someone’s freedom. To the City’s credit, they took abrupt action to effectuate her release from custody and promptly dismissed the false charge in the days that followed. By then, however, the damage had already been done.”
Going forward, Shanece hopes the department reaches out.
“I’m actually a caring, generous person that owns up to what they do,” said Shanece.