Household speaks out after CCSO releases video of Jamal Sutherland’s in-custody demise

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCBD) – The family of Jamal Sutherland, a 31-year-old man who died in custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center in January, spoke to the media on Friday after the video of his death was released to the public .

Family attorney Mark Peper shared a glimpse of the night Sutherland was taken into custody after an altercation in a North Charleston mental health facility.

Peper said Sutherland, with the help of his family, went to Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health on December 31, 2020 for help.

“The goal was to get him to a place where his son could be safe and protected from harm in order to get the help he needed,” he said during the press conference on Friday.

But Peper said that didn’t happen. He said lack of security and oversight had led to an altercation in a unit that housed Sutherland.

It happened on the evening of January 4, 2021 – NCPD was told in a video statement that “a large-scale battle between patients and staff has broken out and that staff urgently need help from law enforcement,” said Keith Sumy, mayor of North Charleston .

“There was an argument between two patients who were not named Jamal Sutherland,” he said. “But because of Palmetto’s inability to handle it properly – just as they have done many, many times – they called 911 for mentally ill patients who challenged each other while facing their own challenges.”

While the North Charleston Police Department responded to the facility, Peper said Sutherland was excited. “Jamal did exactly what he was taught – the right thing – he stepped in. He tried to help. And given the confusion, an offense is said to have been committed in which a nurse employee was simply attacked, ”said Peper.

Peper said Sutherland “did the right thing” when law enforcement arrived – sit down and comply.

While the City of North Charleston released an edited video that included shipping calls and body camera footage, Peper reveals that the raw footage – slated to be released Friday by NCPD – shows Sutherland getting up, putting his hands behind his back, and walking quietly out of the building and in police custody.

He later died hours later at the Al Cannon Detention Center after detention personnel attempted to bring Sutherland before a judge in the Bond Court on Jan. 5.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s office posted hours of combined videos late Thursday evening showing Sutherland repeatedly being verbally abused and EMS trying to revive him.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office released a video of the death of Jamal Sutherland in custody

Sutherland’s mother, Amy, also reached the media and said, “Insanity does not give anyone the right to control my child. This is my child. I love my child. “

She said her son was good, he was loved: “I had 16 operations, Jamal never left my side. Even when he went to the mental hospital, he wanted to make sure his mother was okay. “

Amy Sutherland said her son is an example of what she wanted from him. “When it’s pocketed and sprinkled with pepper, it yells ‘Hallelujah’ – if you don’t hear what the tape was saying, son, says Hallelujah.”

“Now that I know how my baby died, I’m proud of him. Insane, still able to say, “Thank you, Jesus, take care of me.” I want you to know that Jamal was a great man. He had flaws like everyone else, but he was a great man, ”she said.

Peper said Sutherland’s last question was, “What does that mean?” He said they plan to answer his question. “People with mental health problems have exactly the same civil rights as you, me and every other healthy, wealthy person in the world.”

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