Sutherland family, community groups hold Justice for Jamal rally outside Solicitor Wilson’s office

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Community groups and local activists gathered in Marion Square on Wednesday afternoon for a planned and permitted march to Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson’s office.

Police say the group will march along the sidewalk of Meeting Street to Solicitor Wilson’s office and will be escorted by law enforcement.

Community leaders continue their calls for Solicitor Wilson to ‘immediately charge’ the deputies involved in Jamal Sutherland’s January 5th death at the Al Cannon Detention Center.

Members of the Racial Justice Network and families of those lost while in law enforcement custody will speak along with Jamal Sutherland’s mother, Amy Sutherland.

During a one-on-one interview with News 2 this week, Solicitor Wilson said she understands why people are protesting at her doorstep and agrees that Sutherland should never have died.

However, she said the investigation cannot be influenced by outside factors.

“I haven’t been sitting on this case for five months, I have been working,” she said. “I do not have everything that I need to make a sound decision … I didn’t have the full report until April 30th and I’m building on that report. I’m uncovering stones that haven’t been uncovered.”

Wilson said she’s been deepening her understanding of what exactly transpired that day in early January.

Part of her investigation involves requesting a second autopsy on Sutherland, after the first pathologist’s report raised more questions than answers, in Wilson’s opinion.

FULL COVERAGE: JAMAL SUTHERLAND DEATH INVESTIGATION

“I will have to look and see what the explanations are behind the reasoning, and what those things are based on. This case doesn’t turn only on a pathologist’s opinion. Somehow, someway, with evidence, you have to be able to show the proximate cause of the death regardless of what charge you come up with. If you come up with a charge that is holding someone responsible – in any case – with the death of another, they have to have been the proximate cause. We don’t have that right now.”

Wilson hopes that regardless of the results of her investigation, systemic changes will be made:

“Jamal Sutherland is not the first person who was at the hands of untrained law enforcement, law enforcement who didn’t understand mental illness, who were forced to deal with someone who was sick, instead of having that person treated by a facility who could handle them. And if things don’t change, he won’t be the last.”

She said that she and other prosecutors across South Carolina have been pushing since 2017 for excessive force legislation.

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