CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The family Jamal Sutherland, an inmate who died last January after being tased several times by officers at the Al Cannon Detention Center, says they’ve been failed by 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and the justice system. The family is demanding charges are brought against the involved officers.
The Sutherland family was joined by the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Daunte Wright and their attorneys for a press conference Thursday afternoon to stand in solidarity.
9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson declined to file charges against the involved officers last July after a review of the evidence citing a lack of confidence to prove criminal intent. Sutherland’s family says the Solicitor hasn’t done enough and has lacked transparency.
“Scarlett! Do the right thing, I can’t take this anymore,” said Amy Sutherland, Jamal Sutherland’s mom. “We have to get justice.”
Attorney Ben Crump won successful guilty verdicts in the deaths of Floyd, Arbery and Wright and now represents the Sutherland’s says it’s time to charge the officers responsible in Sutherland’s death.
“Look at Daunte Wright being killed, look at Ahmuad Arbery being killed, look at George Floyd being killed and then look at Jamal Sutherland being killed,” says Crump. “Ask yourself, what’s the difference?”
Crump says the video of Sutherland’s death paired with the evidence should be enough to move the case forward and is calling on state leaders to get involved.
“We want the officers to be able to have their day in court too but we want Amy and Deacon Sutherland to be able to have their day in court,” says Sutherland.
The Sutherland’s claim they’ve been lied to by Solicitor Wilson throughout the investigation saying the Solicitor promised to meet with them and say that hasn’t happened.
Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano issued a statement this afternoon calling Sutherland’s death a tragedy and says her agency has taken steps in the aftermath to prevent similar tragedies at the Al Cannon Detention Center.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson released the following statement in response to Thursday’s press conference. “During the investigation of Jamal’s death I continually met with his family. On July 26, when I
met with Mrs. Sutherland, the family’s attorneys, and our expert to brief her on my decision, it
became apparent from her reaction and pejorative response that Mrs. Sutherland could no longer
have a rational conversation with me or my office.”
The statement went on to say, “We have not spoken since as I respected her wishes. When a family representative contacted me in early December 2021 to request a meeting, I let them know that I believe a meeting would not be productive and would likely lead to the family’s false hope as I stand firm in my decision. I encouraged them to seek a review. I appreciate the Sutherlands’ perseverance and respect their resolve. After today’s event, I am more convinced that a meeting would not be in anyone’s best interest.”
The group says they plan to take the fight to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office.