County Reaches $10 Million Settlement in Jailed Black Man’s Death
A county in South Carolina agreed on Tuesday to pay $10 million to the household of a Black man who died in January after sheriff’s deputies used pepper spray and Tasers on him in a jail cell as he instructed them, “I can’t breathe,” officers mentioned.
In a unanimous vote, the Charleston County Council permitted the settlement in the loss of life of Jamal Sutherland, 31, who had been taken from a psychological well being facility to the county jail on the time.
His loss of life on Jan. 5 has drawn protests and comparisons to the killing of George Floyd whereas in police custody in Minneapolis.
The settlement got here as many People paused on Tuesday to recollect Mr. Floyd one 12 months after his loss of life, which grew to become a catalyst for a nationwide depending on police brutality and systemic racism.
It adopted the firing on Could 17 of the 2 deputies concerned in Mr. Sutherland’s loss of life, an encounter that was proven in graphic video footage that was launched this month by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Workplace. One of many deputies positioned a knee on Mr. Sutherland’s again.
Earlier than the settlement was permitted, the county and the Sutherland household had been engaged in mediation talks in an effort to keep away from formal litigation, the tv station WCSC reported. The council’s finance committee earlier beneficial that the total council approve a $10 million settlement, in keeping with native information media shops.
Councilman Teddie E. Pryor Sr. mentioned throughout the assembly that he had promised the Sutherland household that he would look into what reforms to public security may very well be enacted.
“This could by no means occur to anybody ever once more,” Mr. Pryor mentioned. “Ever.”
A lawyer for Mr. Sutherland’s household didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Tuesday night time.
The payout provides to a listing of eight-figure settlements in a number of high-profile killings of Black folks involving regulation enforcement officers. In March, Mr. Floyd’s household reached a $27 million settlement with the Metropolis of Minneapolis. Earlier this month, officers in Columbus, Ohio, agreed to pay $10 million to the household of Andre Hill, a Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer in a storage in December.
C. Brantley Moody, a member of the Charleston County Council, mentioned throughout the group’s assembly on Tuesday that he had grappled with whether or not to assist the settlement. He acknowledged that “globally, this race to the courthouse” troubled him.
“What was completed was a horrible injustice,” Mr. Moody mentioned. “However how do you agree it? I don’t know what the reply is.”
The native prosecutor is predicted to resolve in June whether or not the deputies, Sgt. Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle, will face legal expenses in Mr. Sutherland’s loss of life. The prosecutor, Scarlett A. Wilson, the Ninth Circuit solicitor, mentioned earlier this month that she was reviewing the outcomes of an investigation into the deputies’ actions performed by the South Carolina Legislation Enforcement Division.
Ms. Fickett and Mr. Houle had been positioned on administrative go away earlier than their firing was introduced Could 17 on Twitter by Kristin Graziano, the Charleston County sheriff.
The deputies had been attempting to take away Mr. Sutherland from a cell on the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Heart, the county jail, to take him to court docket for a bond listening to on Jan. 5 when the lethal encounter occurred.
Within the video footage launched by the sheriff, the deputies have been seen utilizing pepper spray in Mr. Sutherland’s cell two instances earlier than firing Tasers at him. Mr. Sutherland had been hit with the Taser six to eight instances, Mr. Houle later mentioned in the video.
The video confirmed Mr. Sutherland writhing on the bottom earlier than he finally misplaced consciousness. Quickly after, he was declared lifeless, with a pathologist ruling that the style of his loss of life was “undetermined.” The pathologist acknowledged that Mr. Sutherland had died “on account of excited state with pharmacotherapeutic impact throughout subdual course of.”
Officers wouldn’t focus on the post-mortem outcomes additional and mentioned that the autopsy examination report wouldn’t be launched as a result of it was not a public doc.
Mr. Sutherland was taken to the jail from a psychological well being facility, Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Well being, the place he had been arrested on Jan. 4 after a battle broke out. Staff on the psychological well being heart instructed responding officers that Mr. Sutherland had assaulted a employees member. He and one other affected person have been charged with third-degree assault and battery, in keeping with The Put up and Courier of Charleston.
On the day of his arrest, a video confirmed Mr. Sutherland in misery. He screamed “Let go of me” at officers and spoke of conspiracies, together with references to the Illuminati, teams — actual and fictitious — relationship again centuries and mentioned to have particular data.
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