Family, activists calling for transparency in Jamal Sutherland death investigation


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Advocates for Jamal Sutherland — an inmate at the Charleston County Detention Center that died following an encounter with deputies — are calling for transparency and action in the investigation.

“I am angry,” says Jamal Sutherland’s mom, Amy Sutherland. “Everybody else might not be angry but I’m angry.”


The Sutherland Family and activists say they don’t feel law enforcement has been entirely forthcoming. The family says investigators haven’t been transparent in regards to if and when video of Sutherland’s death should have been released.

“And then we’re going to come to jail and the lies really start to float,” says Amy Sutherland.

Sutherland says she was told by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) the Sutherland family wouldn’t understand the body cam footage of her son’s death at the Al Cannon Detention Center back in January. The Sheriff’s Office has previously told News 2 they couldn’t release the video due to a non-disclosure agreement with the family.

Activists say if ninth circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson doesn’t provide answers soon, they plan to demand her resignation.

“If we can’t get answers from her, we want her to resign immediately,” says Elder James Johnson with the Racial Justice Network. “The trust has been shaken in the black community.”

He says there’s no excuse for anything but transparency from those heading up the investigation.

“We want answers especially from Solicitor Wilson,” says Elder Johnson. “She told me in a telephone interview that the parents didn’t want the video to be seen.”

Activists and the Sutherland family say that isn’t true and feel like they’ve been left in the dark.

“We want to see [the deputies involved in Sutherland’s death] charged, we want to see them prosecuted and we want to see a conviction,” says John McNeal, an advocate with the National Action Network.

News 2 reached out to the Charleston County Sheriff and Solicitor Wilson’s office, but have yet to hear back.

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