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The spoon Sutherland grabbed and why it’s important in the case

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 6:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The morning Jamal Sutherland died in the Charleston County Jail, deputies repeatedly told him to, “Drop the spoon.”

Video shows they were referring to a white plastic spoon he picked up off his breakfast tray while inside his cell.

Live 5 requested additional video from the Sheriff’s Office from the night and morning Sutherland was incarcerated. We said we were specifically looking for video of the inmate receiving any meals and utensils.

New surveillance footage, released to us this week, showed Sutherland getting his breakfast tray just after 7 a.m. on January 5, 2021.

At that point, he’d been in his jail cell about eleven hours. Sutherland was arrested for assault at a local mental health facility the night before.

His family tells us the 31-year-old was mentally ill.

In the new video, a jail worker pushes a food cart through the hallway.

He stops at Sutherland’s cell, pushes a breakfast tray through the slot in door and moves on to the next cell.

About 20 minutes later, the same jail worker starts picking up trays along the hallway.

He retrieves the breakfast tray from the cell right next to Sutherland’s, and then looks inside Sutherland’s cell.

He stands here for about a minute, looking inside. It’s unclear from the video if he’s talking to Sutherland.

Eventually the worker leaves without Sutherland’s tray.

Within two hours, deputies can be seen on body camera footage trying to get Sutherland to go to his bond hearing.

“You gotta go down and see the judge. Bond judge...to get out of here,” one deputy tells Sutherland, who refuses to come to the door of his cell.

Sutherland is repeatedly yelling, “Hallelujah!”

The night before, he asked deputies during the booking process for his medications and said he was being followed by the Illuminati.

The next morning, video shows Sutherland reaching down to his brown breakfast tray. He appears to pick up a white plastic spoon.

The conversation around that spoon - and Sutherland’s intent with it - escalates quickly.

“He’s got a spoon in his hand like he’s gonna use it as a weapon,” said a deputy. “Hey! If you don’t comply, we’re going to use force. Come to the door, put your hand through the flap,” he yelled at Sutherland.

Eventually, more deputies arrive.

One narrates the situation. “He’s taking an aggressive stance... medical is standing by on scene.”

They’re keeping an eye on the spoon. “He’s still got the spoon in his hand,” one deputy said.

“Drop the spoon and come to the door,” another deputy yelled to Sutherland. “Drop the spoon and come the door or we’re going to use force.”

Deputies sprayed an irritant into Sutherland’s cell and continued to yell, “Drop the spoon and come to the door.”

Eventually, Deputies tased Sutherland at least nine times and dragged him outside his cell.

Despite several people trying CPR, Sutherland never woke up. He died in the jail hallway.

Sutherland’s family has settled civil claims for $10 million against the government entities involved in this case.

Protestors have gathered several times, calling for justice in the case.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is still weighing evidence and expert testimony in the case and has not yet announced whether deputies involved with face criminal charges.

Sheriff Kristin Graziano terminated Detention Sergeant Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle.

Click here to see all of our stories and investigations regarding Sutherland’s death.

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