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Inmate death

  • The parents of a mentally ill Black man who died in a South Carolina jail are calling for state lawmakers to pass both a hate crimes law and a bill specifying excessive force by officers is illegal. Jamal Sutherland's parents appeared Wednesday with members of the Black Legislative Caucus who are unhappy the proposals have stalled in the General Assembly. Sutherland died in January 2021 after he was shocked by employees who then kneeled on his back until he stopped breathing. The hate crime bill passed the House but is stalled in the Senate. Another bill supported by Sutherland's family would specify officers using excessive force is a crime.
  • The family of a mentally ill Black man who died after South Carolina jail employees repeatedly stunned him and then kneeled on his back until he stopped breathing is still seeking criminal charges one year later. Relatives for Jamal Sutherland want South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to prosecute the Charleston County guards who restrained the 31-year-old shortly before his death. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson had said last year that she couldn't prove the guards intended to kill Sutherland.
  • A prominent civil rights attorney is calling on a South Carolina prosecutor to revisit a case and criminally charge the two jail employees who stunned a mentally ill Black man 10 times and kneeled on his back until he stopped breathing. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson previously said the Charleston County jail deputies who were seen on surveillance video restraining Jamal Sutherland wouldn't face charges because she couldn't prove the guards intended to kill him. Attorney Ben Crump says there's enough evidence to bring involuntary manslaughter charges against the guards, who were both fired in May. Charleston County had also previously agreed to pay a $10 million settlement to Sutherland's family.
  • The estates of two South Carolina women who drowned while locked in the back of a sheriff's department van during Hurricane Florence have filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by a company that created policies and procedures for the law enforcement agency. That's according to lawsuits filed last week in Horry County by representatives of 43-year-old Nicolette Green and 45-year-old Wendy Newton against Moseley Architects. The company consults with law enforcement agencies and develops policies and procedures. The women died in September 2018. Representatives for Moseley didn't immediately return an email message Monday.
  • Jamal Sutherland's family, a newly elected sheriff and the solicitor weigh in on a need for change following a decision not file charges against two detention officers.
  • A South Carolina prosecutor has decided not to charge two jail employees who stunned a mentally ill Black man 10 times and kneeled on his back until he stopped breathing. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Monday that the Charleston County jail guards in January were following their aggressive training in handling inmates, so she could not prove the guards intended to kill 31-year-old Jamal Sutherland. He had been recently booked on a misdemeanor and was refusing to go to his bond hearing. Charleston County earlier this year agreed to pay a $10 million settlement to Sutherland's family. Federal officials are investigating the death to see if Sutherland's civil rights were violated.
  • State police in South Carolina have told a judge that they don't need to release more information about the killing of two members of a prominent legal family. After more than a month of investigation, the State Law Enforcement Division said in court Wednesday they still don't know what evidence might be important to solve the killings of 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and her 22-year-old son Paul Murdaugh. State agents were in court after The Post and Courier sued the agency, saying it was not following the state public records act. The Charleston newspaper says the agency heavily blacked out information in the reports that were released.
  • The family of a mentally ill Black man who died behind bars after being restrained by white deputies took to the streets of Charleston Wednesday afternoon, less than a day after they were awarded $10 million as part of a civil settlement.Lawmakers, community activists and protesters surrounded Amy Sutherland as she demanded justice for her son, Jamal, in front of the solicitor’s office downtown.“They must punish,” Amy Sutherland said. “They must punish for what they did to my baby.”
  • A South Carolina county has agreed to pay $10 million to the family of a man with mental health issues who died in jail in January. The Charleston County Council voted Tuesday evening to approve the settlement to Jamal Sutherland's family. Video released by Charleston County officials this month shows deputies repeatedly deployed stun guns and knelt on Jamal Sutherland's back before he stopped moving. Officials say that an hour later, Sutherland was pronounced dead. The prosecutor looking into the case has said she is consulting external experts before deciding whether to pursue criminal charges. Two deputies involved in the case have been fired.