CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Activists with Justice for All, a local coalition comprised of several community leaders, held several protests surrounding the PGA Championship on Sunday, calling for justice in the death of Jamal Sutherland.
Sutherland was taken from a mental health facility where he was receiving treatment because of an altercation and died while in custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center back in January.
“We demand transparency and accountability from the police, law enforcement, and prison systems,” said community activist Mika Gadsden, who is working with Justice for All. “We’re also demanding community control of police and prisons, and that there is a divestment from police and prison systems into mental health – that’s what we need here, we do not need more money for police and prisons, that is not the solution to our problems.”
They want to make sure elected officials and the solicitor’s office appropriately respond to calls for justice in the Sutherland case.
“This coalition is going is trying to make sure that Solicitor Scarlett Wilson hears our demands,” said Gadsden. “We have a list of demands that we’ve already forwarded to her and her peers. We want her to look at those demands and act accordingly.”
Meanwhile, organizers of Sunday’s rallies said they decided to protest near the golf championship because they want local leaders to invest more revenue into Black communities, and communities that need better support services.
“There’s so much money going into the PGA, this PGA tour could generate $100M in revenue for the city and we’re demanding they shift that revenue into Black communities and communities that need it the most,” said Marcus McDonald, lead organizer for Black Lives Matter Charleston. “all too often the city prioritizes events and outside festivals and not the Black community.”
Protest rallies were held in at least three locations heading towards Kiawah Island, where the PGA Championship is being held.
Gadsden said the issues within the criminal justice system transcends one person. “It’s bigger than Jamal Sutherland,” she said. “So, if we don’t get justice for this case, we’re going to continue out rally and cries and make sure each family impacted by killings at the hands of law enforcement make get justice.”