CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Congresswoman Nancy Mace is speaking out about her conversation with Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano regarding the death of Jamal Sutherland.
“Even when mistakes are made, our elected officials have a duty to be honest, be transparent and be responsible,” said Rep. Mace.
FULL COVERAGE: Jamal Sutherland Death Investigation
Mace said Sheriff Graziano confirmed to her that Sutherland was being removed from his jail cell to go to a room with Wifi so that he could be present for a virtual bond hearing, which Rep. Mace said he had no legal requirement to attend.
However, in video released by the North Charleston Police Department on Friday, staff at the mental health facility that housed Sutherland – where the initial altercation occurred – told officers that he needed to appear before a bond court judge to determine where he needed to go: back to jail or a mental health facility.
“Sheriff Graziano has hidden behind a lot of “policy” when making excuses for her decisions since this horrific incident; and yet, in almost 5 months, she has yet to share evidence of the exact, specific “policy” with the public,” Mace tweeted.
Graziano had only served as Charleston County sheriff for a few hours before the death occurred.
“There’s also no way in hell, after watching the video, that a sheriff, would take these two individuals off administrative leave and bring them back to work, even in desk jobs, or as she likes to call it “administrative duty…” They’re still employed by the sheriff and yet the investigation hasn’t been concluded or resolved.”
Rep. Mace went on to say that Sheriff Graziano told her she watched video of Sutherland’s death one or two days later, but during her press conference Friday told News 2’s Riley Benson that she “did not recall” when she watched the video for the first time.
“There’s no way, a sheriff, doesn’t know when they saw this video for the first time,” Mace said. “This is one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time – how do you not hold a press conference when this horrific incident happened? Whatever happened to transparency?”
In a statement last Thursday, Sheriff Graziano said her agency has assessed its resources and “are evaluating options for global improvements, including a focus on mental health awareness.”
Previous announcements stated that the detention deputies involved in Sutherland’s death were initially placed on leave and then reassigned to administrative duties.