CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Justice for All Coalition, a newly formed community group that held its first rally on Monday, presented a list of demands following the in-custody death of Jamal Sutherland.
Sutherland, who was seeking treatment at a mental health facility in North Charleston, was detained and taken to the Al Cannon Detention Center after an altercation back in January. Tased multiple times and hit with pepper spray, Sutherland died while detention deputies attempted to bring him before a bond court judge early the next morning.
FULL COVERAGE: Jamal Sutherland Death Investigation
The group gathered outside the Solicitor’s office in downtown Charleston on Monday where they presented a list of demands including all parties involved in the death of Jamal Sutherland be fired, arrested, and charged.
Joshua with the Lowcountry Action Committee also said they want an independent non-internal investigation and after-action review of the facility and agencies involved including Palmetto Behavioral Health, Al Cannon Detention Center, and the North Charleston Police Department.
They also demand all records of correctional officer misconduct, the resulting complaints, and disciplinary actions made available to the public immediately.
According to Joshua, the group wants the city and state to begin divesting from the carceral system and investing in public health.
“So, we demand the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, North Charleston Police Department, and Charleston Police Department each reallocate a portion of their respective budgets for the creation of a community safety and violence prevention department dedicated to responding and supporting residents – including incarcerated persons – during mental health related incidents,” he said.
He said the department should be independent of the mayor’s office and law enforcement agencies. Personnel assigned to the department, they say, should be mental health professionals and not law enforcement.
Finally, the united front is demanding the establishment and funding of a Public Safety Accountability Council, which consists of county residents – including community members impacted by law enforcement. They say it also should be independent of the mayor’s office and sheriff’s office, nor should it include current or former law enforcement officers and has the authority to subpoena and review data, inspect detention facilities, make recommendations on enforcement and jail policies, practices, and responses to incidents.
Leaders also say the council should have the ability to discipline and fire police and correctional officers in Charleston County for violations.