Mother says deputies getting fired is a ‘victory’ in Jamal Sutherland’s death investigation

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 11:42 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The mother of Jamal Sutherland said news of the firings of two deputies involved in the death investigation of her son is a “victory.”

Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano announced Monday afternoon she had fired Detention Sergeant Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle.

Amy Sutherland on Monday who said it was a victory for those who suffer from mental health problems.

“I consider that a victory for everybody out there that’s going through mental health,” Sutherland said Monday night. “For everyone who has children of color, because the system seemed like it was going to go against us. But God is who we depended on and it was done. One day people said they were going to march, and something was done that should have been done a long time ago.”

Sutherland died at the Al Cannon Detention Center this past January. He was being taken out of his cell to go to a bond hearing but died while being subdued, prosecutors said.

The body camera footage of the incident was not released until last week and included footage that showed Sutherland being tased numerous times. Amy Sutherland said she thinks she knows why it took so long for the video to be released.

“I think people tried to cover up everything that happened with my child,” Sutherland said. “We were asking questions from day one. No answer. It just went away. But I think until pressure is put on people, especially when it comes to politics, nobody’s going to move. But once politics gets involved, and you can’t sit comfortably in your office anymore, then action has to be taken. So that’s the only reason they took action. Nothing would have been done.”

The two deputies had been on administrative capacity working desk jobs since January. Now that they’re off the job, some activists want them formally charged in connection to Sutherland’s death

The solicitor says a decision on if those now former deputies will face any charges is expected to come in the next few weeks

Graziano made the announcement on the deputies getting fired on Monday, but she’s being criticized for not taking action sooner.

Among those criticizing the sheriff’s delay is Representative Nancy Mace.

“I want to know what’s changed,” Mace said. “I am glad to see this happening now, but it took five months and public pressure and a horrific video to make this happen unfortunately.”

In a press conference last week, Graziano said she decided not to fire the deputies while an internal investigation was being conducted, citing policy.

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