Jamal Sutherland’s family to receive $10M settlement following jailhouse death
"We know that no amount of money will bring their loved one back, but I think this starts the healing process," said Council Chairman Teddie Pryor.
The family of Jamal Sutherland has received a $10 million settlement in the wake of his wrongful jailhouse death.
On Tuesday, the Charleston County council unanimously approved the $10 million settlement, NBC News reports.
“I am so happy that it was a unanimous decision to do what is right by the Sutherland family,” said Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “We know that no amount of money will bring their loved one back, but I think this starts the healing process.”
In January, 31-year-old Sutherland died after two deputies attempted to forcibly remove Sutherland from a jail cell. The day before, Sutherland was arrested after a fight at the Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health psychiatric facility where he was receiving mental health treatment, NBC News reports.
“He was already afraid and confused about the situation and there was nobody in there to talk to him with any compassion. Those individuals that are responsible, they need to be let go,” said Jamal Sutherland’s father, James Sutherland, during a press conference earlier this month.
Video footage of Sutherland’s struggle with deputies at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center was released by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office on May 12. In it, Sutherland is seen crying out in pain and laying on the floor as a deputy tased him repeatedly. The 31-year-old died roughly an hour and 15 minutes after the incident. Two officers have been identified as Sgt. Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle and both were fired on May 17, CNN reports.
The local outrage incited by the release of the video led to many protests in Charleston. Some protestors pointed out that the details of Sutherland’s brutal encounter were painfully reminiscent of those of George Floyd‘s murder. At one point during the struggle, Houle had his knee on Sutherland’s neck while Sutherland was handcuffed. He’s heard saying “I can’t breathe”.
“Mental illness does not give anyone the right to put their hands on my child… I had 16 surgeries and Jamal never left my side, even when he was going to the mental hospital he wanted to make sure that his mom was alright,” said Sutherland’s mother, Amy Sutherland. “Remember, he is a human being. He is not an animal. He was treated like one, but that’s not who he was.”
Last week, Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said that the investigation into criminal charges for the officers involved is ongoing. In her statement, Wilson noted that Sutherland’s autopsy stated that he died “as a result of excited state with pharmacotherapeutic effect during subdual process,” and the review of the extrication process did not reveal any “unusual or excessive interactions or areas of direct concern.”
Wilson said those results “raised many questions” for her and she is seeking a second opinion.
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