Groups call on Solicitor Wilson to ‘immediately charge’ former deputies involved in Jamal Sutherland death

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several groups are rallying outside Solicitor Scarlett Wilson’s office in downtown Charleston calling for justice in the death of Jamal Sutherland.

North Charleston police officers arrested Sutherland on a misdemeanor assault charge following a January 4th altercation at a mental health facility – Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health – where he was seeking treatment for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

He died the next morning after detention staff attempted to bring him before a bond court judge on January 5th.

FULL COVERAGE: JAMAL SUTHERLAND DEATH INVESTIGATION

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office released hours of combined video which shows Sutherland being tased repeatedly, and EMS attempting to resuscitate him.

Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano later fired Detention Deputy Brian Houle and Detention Sergeant Lindsay Fickett for their role in Jamal Sutherland’s in-custody death.

“Today, I made the decision to terminate the two detention deputies involved in this case. I must weigh the interest of public safety for the community against any incident that creates even the perception of an impairment to the operation of the Detention Center for the safety of all residents, staff and our community,” she said in a statement.

Groups are now calling for Solicitor Wilson to immediately charge the former detention employees, which is their purpose for Friday’s permitted rally.

In a statement on Tuesday, Wilson said the video released in the case is “disturbing” and “the exposure of mental health care failures is maddening.” However, “in order for the State to hold someone criminally responsible for another’s death, the State must prove unlawful conduct was the proximate cause of death.”

The pathologist in the case originally determined “that Jamal Sutherland died, ‘as a result of excited state with pharmacotherapeutic effect during subdual process.’” Wilson is seeking a second opinion on the matter.

Wilson said that she is investigating all aspects of the case and that she “[intends] to bring justice to the Sutherland family, and to any suspects in this investigation.”

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