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Charleston County council members give thoughts on Sutherland video

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - At least one Charleston County Council member says she saw the in-jail video of Jamal Sutherland before it was publicly released as part of the mediation process between the county and Sutherland’s family.

Sutherland died outside his jail cell on Jan. 5 of this year. Video released last week, five months after the incident, showed two deputies repeatedly tasing Sutherland in his jail cell.

Body camera footage revealed deputies saying they were concerned Sutherland had a spoon in his hand.

They sprayed irritant into his cell and tased him repeatedly, according to one deputy’s account on-camera to EMS. Sutherland had refused to leave his cell to go to a bond hearing.

He was arrested for assault the night before at a local health center where he was being treated for mental illness, according to Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano.

Despite resuscitation efforts after he was dragged outside the jail cell, Sutherland died. While no criminal charges have been filed in the Sutherland case, civil litigation is in discussion.

The Sutherland family hired Charleston attorney Mark Peper to help negotiate with Charleston County, but after a 13-hour mediation last Thursday, no agreement was reached.

The point of mediation is to try to reach a settlement before going to trial.

County Council members would have to vote and agree on any payout involving tax dollars.

We reached out to all nine county council members about the video and asked if they actually saw the video before mediation started last Thursday.

Council member Jenny Honeycutt said she saw it around 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday, the day before mediation.

She also said, “I grieve for the Sutherland family and commit to ensuring nothing like this ever happens again.”

Council Chairman Teddie Pryor said, “All council members were provided with the opportunity to view the video prior to mediation. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Sutherland family and are committed to full participation with any ongoing investigations.”

Councilman Dickie Schweers said, “I am not at liberty to discuss this situation.”

Council members Sass, Wehrman, Darby, Middleton, Moody and Johnson have not responded to our questions yet.

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