Andrew Dys

Charges dropped against Rock Hill teen falsely accused of fighting, making racial comments

Shantay Boular and her daughter Tonisha say they have never received one apology.

Not from the 16-year-old girl who police say made up a story about Tonisha’s supposedly bullying the younger girl over her “light skin.”

Not from the Rock Hill Police Department, whose officers arrested Tonisha after the two girls were involved in a fight.

The charges against Tonisha Boular have been dismissed, but her mother is still upset that police arrested her in the first place. She’s mad that her daughter was arrested at school, when the fight didn’t happen at school. And she’s angry that her daughter spent six hours in jail after her arrest, even though she didn’t start the fight.

“My daughter had just turned 17 two weeks before this happened, and then they go to school and arrest her,” Shantay Boular said. “Then they did drop the charges, but nobody said anything about why they arrested her in the first place.”

Plus, Shantay Boular said, her daughter was accused of making racial comments that were “just plain not true.”

Both girls attend Northwestern High School and ride the same bus the school.

Early in September, the 16-year-old – who described herself as a “light-skinned black female” – told police that Tonisha Boular bullied her and jumped her after getting off the school bus because she was “acting too much like a white person.”

Boular, who also is black, was charged as an adult with disorderly conduct/fighting. She was arrested at school, handcuffed in front of her classmates, and taken to the city jail where she waited hours before being released on bond after an initial court appearance.

At the time of Boular’s arrest, police said the younger girl threw the first punch, but the fight was deemed a “mutual combat fight” because Boular did not retreat from it.

The 16-year-old was charged with disorderly conduct/fighting and filing a false police report.

Now, a month after the incident, city prosecutors have dropped the charge against Boular. The charge was dismissed Oct. 6 with the right to restore it, said Rock Hill prosecutor Anna Thomas.

The decision came after the two officers involved in the investigation and arrest – the patrol officer who took the initial report and performed the follow-up investigation, and the Northwestern High School resource officer – described what happened, Thomas said.

“The officers came to me, and that is a credit to them, and I decided that the dismissal with the right to restore was right,” Thomas said.

The younger girl, a juvenile whose name has not been released because of her age, still faces charges in Family Court, said Whitney Payne, the 16th Circuit assistant solicitor who handles juvenile cases. She qualifies for juvenile arbitration, a diversion program for first-time offenders that usually involves community service, counseling or other requirements. A decision on arbitration could come as early as next week, Payne said.

None of the witnesses who backed the younger girl’s initial story to police, which turned out to be bogus, were charged or face any punishment.

But Tonisha Boular remains upset that she was arrested in the first place, and now has to go through the process to get her record expunged.

“I was in jail for six hours,” she said.