Video shows South Carolina deputies tase Black man before dying in jail
Jamal Sutherland, who battled mental health issues, was repeatedly subjected to a Taser and pepper sprayed in a jail cell
In January, Jamal Sutherland died while in custody in a South Carolina detention center shortly after being arrested. Now, new footage shows that he was repeatedly subjected to a Taser hours before his death, according to NBC News.
Sutherland, 31, had been receiving mental health treatment at the Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health when he was arrested, as reported by WCIV. As North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey stated, Sutherland was arrested for his part in a “large-scale fight” that took place in Palmetto.
According to Sutherland’s parents, James and Amy Sutherland, Jamal suffered from bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia since being diagnosed as a child.
However, Sutherland died about 12 hours after being detained in the Al Cannon Detention Center. On Friday, body camera footage was revealed showing that Sutherland was shot with a Taser shortly before his death.
The morning after his initial arrest, Sutherland was scheduled to be transported from his cell to his bond hearing. As North Charleston deputy sheriffs arrived at his cell to take him, the footage shows one deputy yelling at Sutherland instructing him to lie down on his stomach and slide to the door to be handcuffed.
Sutherland sat down and began to slide toward the door on his backside instead. When he got to the open door, the deputies repeatedly yelled for him to turn onto his stomach. Sutherland asked, “For what?,” to which the deputies continued to yell the order. Sutherland said, while still sitting upright, “That’s as far as I’m turning.”
The video footage then showed a deputy coming into the cell and placing him in handcuffs. The footage stops with him getting shocked with a Taser and crying out in pain. According to WBCD, pepper spray was also used on Sutherland.
Sutherland died one 1 hour and 15 minutes after the deputies entered his cell. Attempts to resuscitate him went on for more than an hour. The coroner’s report indicated that he died as the result of an “excited state with adverse pharmacotherapeutic effect during subdual process.”
Since his death, Sutherland’s parents have been upset with the Sheriff’s department and trying to get answers.
“They knew that he was a mental health patient. Mental health patients have behavior problems,” James Sutherland told WCIV. “You don’t attack and tase mental health patients because they are not acting rational. That is not supposed to happen.”
Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano called Sutherland’s death a “horrible tragedy.” As she explained the events from the footage in a statement, she offered this as an opportunity to examine better practices.
“Our officers removed Mr. Sutherland from his cell that morning in order to ensure that he received a timely bond hearing, as required by law,” Graziano said. “Their efforts were complicated by the increasing effects that Mr. Sutherland was suffering as a result of mental illness. This unfortunate tragedy has revealed an opportunity to review existing policies.”
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