CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano has laid down several changes she is making in the wake of Jamal Sutherland’s death. She says she’s making sure there are no excuses of improper treatment of inmates or staff under her authority.
“This behavior was tolerated; it was permitted it was encouraged on many levels. There is absolutely no way that we can treat anyone that we expect to be professionals the way we treated our own people and say that it was okay,” says Sheriff Graziano.
For months, Sheriff Graziano has been implementing changes and new policies to alleviate mental health crises between officers and inmates.
“There’s no excuse anymore. If you see something you must do something. If its amoral, unethical or borderline illegal or you feel if it’s an unlawful order you have a duty not to do it,” she says.
Jamal Sutherland died after being tased and dragged out of his cell so that he could go to a bond hearing. The sheriff says now, she allows a new policy of right to refuse bond hearing.
FULL COVERAGE: JAMAL SUTHERLAND DEATH INVESTIGATION
“The day this happened that policy that was in place, that directive it was in place. That you had to attend bond hearings, I knew that it was illegal,” she says.
Sheriff Graziano says she hopes these new tactics create a change that will benefit the future of the Al Cannon Detention Center.
“I will use this as a catalyst for change to do the things we need to do to make sure no one has to go through this ever again. To make sure no one has to suffer what the Sutherland’s have suffered,” she says.
Sheriff Graziano is hosting a mental health summit along side Charleston County officials, city leaders and activists on August 4th and detention officers will annually receive mental health training starting August 2nd.
Watch the full interview below: