Solicitor Wilson, Sheriff Graziano issue statements on in-custody death of Jamal Sutherland

Charleston County News
Juvenile sets fire at Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center, authorities say_124934

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano on Tuesday released additional information on the circumstances surrounding the death of Jamal Sutherland, who died January 5 in custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center.

According to Wilson, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies “were directed to conduct a jail cell extraction of Mr. Sutherland in order to secure Mr. Sutherland’s presence at a bond hearing for a misdemeanor assault charge… During his removal from the cell, Mr. Sutherland became unresponsive and died.”

The report notes that Sutherland did suffer from mental illness. The coroner listed his cause of death as undetermined, but opined that Sutherland died “as a result of excited state with pharmacotherapeutic effects during subdual process.”

The coroner reviewed footage of the extraction and did not notice “any unusual or excessive interactions or areas of direct concern.”

The suspicious circumstances of Sutherland’s death raised enough concerns for Wilson to recruit experts “who may be able to shed more light on [Sutherland’s] death and the circumstances surrounding it, to include potential culpability of those in law enforcement.”

Wilson has also made aware the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Wilson is reviewing the report from the State Law Enforcement Division and anticipates making a decision on while criminal conduct occurred by sometime in June.

Sheriff Graziano issued a lengthy statement following Wilson’s release of information.

She said that she has been in contact with the Sutherland family and continues to make herself available. Despite public demands for the release of the video of Sutherland’s death, however, Graziano said that “the recordings have not yet been released for several reasons, including deference to the Sutherland family.”

Sheriff Graziano said that the family is not ready for the videos to be publicly released.

In addition to respecting the wishes of the family, Sheriff Graziano said that the video is not being released due to “several ongoing investigations, both internally and externally,” and releasing the video could compromise the integrity of those investigations.

Sheriff Graziano says that she supports releasing the video when it is appropriate to do so.

Further, Sheriff Graziano revealed that the deputies involved in Sutherland’s death “were immediately placed on leave for several weeks and have been re-assigned per policy to administrative duties.”

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