CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Although the City of Charleston was not directly involved in Jamal Sutherland’s death at the Al Cannon Detention Center, city leaders and local clergy held a press conference Friday afternoon to urge calm and express their thoughts on what happened.
“I think you could pretty much sum up the feeling of those gathered here today in a word – shocked. They were shocked by what they saw in that video from the county jail.”
Rev. DeMett Jenkins of the International African American Museum opened the press conference with prayer and asking God for peace.
“God, we just speak certainly peace in the lives of the people here in Charleston,” he said.
Rev. Matthew Rivers of St. John’s Chapel said he believes the mental illness issue needs to be seen from a broader perspective.
“We need to all come to the table and find a way to deescalate our personal mental illness, and how we see each other – how we deal with each other,” he said.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said, “What we saw on that tape was senseless. It was horrible. I looked at it and I thought what rationale could there be for the treatment Jamal received? My mind can’t find it.”
“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. I’ve seen a lot,” said Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds. “When I saw George Floyd almost a year ago to the day was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. This is right in that same category. It was painful, it was difficult.”
While there are no planned protests on Friday, Mayor Tecklenburg said city council has granted him authority to call a curfew if needed. Right now, there are no plans to issue a curfew.