‘Jamal Sutherland Justice Act’ filed in SC House

Charleston County News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – State Representative J.A. Moore and Marvin Pendarvis on Friday filed three bills connected to the death of Jamal Sutherland, who died January 5 while in police custody.

The Jamal Sutherland Justice Act would require “a mental health evaluation” be performed “before a bond hearing after the arrest of a person from a mental health facility or institution.”

It would also allow the bond hearing to be postponed “until the person has the capacity to participate” and “prohibit the use of physical force against a person mentally incapacitated to attend a bond hearing.”

Likewise, the act would require the “notification of a guardian or the person’s power of attorney.”

A section added to an existing bill would address the use of taser by requiring the following:

  • State and local law enforcement agencies to adopt and maintain a written policy regarding the use of taser devices or stun guns that meets or exceeds the model policy to be developed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council.
  • Law enforcement officers to document each use of a taser device or stun gun.
  • Each state and local law enforcement agency to submit an annual report to the director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy detailing the use of taser devices or stun guns.
  • The director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy to post the annual reports regarding taser device or stun gun usage on its internet website.
  • The South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council to develop and promulgate a model policy providing guidelines on the use of taser devices or stun guns by law enforcement officers.

Finally, a bill on excessive force would “prohibit law enforcement officers from engaging in use of excessive force when detaining a person or when making an arrest, to establish criminal penalties, and for other purposes.”

The legislation will be picked up when the session resumes in January.

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