Parties release statements on $10M Jamal Sutherland wrongful death settlement

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County Council, Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, and members of the Sutherland family on Wednesday released statements on the $10 million settlement recently reached between Charleston County and the family of Jamal Sutherland, who died January 5 while in custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center.


FULL COVERAGE: JAMAL SUTHERLAND DEATH INVESTIGATION


The statements can be read in full below:

Sutherland family reacts to settlement

Justice for Jamal will come in many forms. We are pleased to have negotiated a settlement with the government entities that provides the type of civil justice he deserves, but our work is not yet done. With God’s help, we will continue the necessary conversations with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that everyone affected by mental illness is treated with the same dignity and respect we all deserve and demand. As we move forward, please continue to pray for our family, our community, each other, and justice for Jamal.  

Statement from Charleston County Council Chairman

“This has been a very difficult time for all of us in the Charleston community. Jamal’s death has led to understandable grief and pain for his family and friends,” said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “It is indeed my hope, my prayer and sincere commitment that his unfortunate passing will lead us as a community and as elected leaders to recognize and address the growing challenges facing those in our community who struggle with mental health. If allowed,
I believe that out of this tragedy can come positive change throughout Charleston County. We must address this challenge both proactively and vigorously.

While this settlement will not stop the continued hurt, we must begin to heal and have meaningful interactions that allow space for necessary changes. We must not let tragedy lead to turmoil, distrust or worse. I have a deep abiding faith in the people of this community, and I know that together we can move forward. We should honor Mr. Sutherland’s legacy by acting with the kindness and gentleness so fondly remembered by those who loved him most.”

Sheriff’s Statement on Jamal Sutherland Settlement

“Today I am grateful to learn the Charleston County Council has approved a settlement with the family of Jamal Sutherland that will hopefully provide some measure of comfort in the midst of their grief. I understand that the community and family have questions regarding the nature of Mr. Sutherland’s death, and I am hopeful that my office’s participation and support of this resolution
will demonstrate my own continued resolve in trying to bring some peace to this family.

As you know, the involved officers are no longer working with the Charleston County Sheriff’s
Office. We have fully cooperated with SLED and the Solicitor as they have separately investigated this matter. To some degree, I have held back on public communications until I could be confident that they would not damage the integrity of internal and external investigations. I am committed to ensuring that justice can be obtained in this, and in all, matters.

I have taken responsibility for this incident. This was a disastrous set of circumstances that led to
the unfortunate loss of Jamal Sutherland. More importantly, I have taken this opportunity to assess our own practices and resources and to begin working on changes that could improve our services and support our mission. I have strived, since my first day in office, to serve the community while continuing to provide a safe environment, excellent law enforcement services and—always–to seek to promote mutual trust and respect with our community.

Our law enforcement community will continue to work to develop a model design that is beneficial to treating mental illness with continuum of care, therefore having less negative impacts on our
community. I welcome the public’s input as we look for better solutions. Accordingly, if they so desire, the Sutherland family shall have a seat at the table for those continued discussions.

My actions, in supporting this settlement, are intended to ensure that this family will be supported
in the wake of this tragedy. Again, I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of Mr. Sutherland.”

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey

“The County’s settlement resolves all potential claims against the County and any other governmental entity. I appreciate the County coming to fair terms with Jamal’s family, and hope this resolution brings the Sutherlands nearer to closure.”

Attorneys for the Sutherland family say they intend to aggressively pursue litigation against all others responsible for Jamal’s tragic death, to include Palmetto Behavioral Health and the third-party medical provider at the Charleston County jail, Wellpath.

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