DHEC investigating facility where Jamal Sutherland was seeking treatment before his arrest

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina’s lead health agency said it is investigating Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health following the arrest and eventual death of Jamal Sutherland.

Sutherland, with the assistance of his family, was seeking treatment for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia at the facility in early January.

According to the North Charleston Police Department, Sutherland was taken to the Al Cannon Detention Center on a misdemeanor assault charge on January 4th after an altercation among patients at the facility.


“An altercation occurred between two patients not named Jamal Sutherland,” said a family attorney during a press conference on Friday. “But due to the inability of Palmetto to properly handle – just as they have done many, many times – resulted in them calling 911 for mental health patients that challenged one another while facing their own challenges.”

Sutherland died at the Al Cannon Detention Center hours later after detention staff attempted to bring him before a bond court judge on January 5th.

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

In a statement to News 2, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said it is “investigating the incident pursuant to the hospital regulation.”

A DHEC spokesperson said they have received 21 complaints against the facility over the past five years.

The facility is licensed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as a specialized hospital with 92 psychiatric beds and 16 substance abuse beds.

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