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Solicitor cites 7-month delay in Jamal Sutherland info from sheriff’s office

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 8:21 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said the Charleston County Sheriff’s office has provided requested information involving the death of Jamal Sutherland after several months of delay.

Wilson said the sheriff’s office provided her office with 162 gigabytes of information regarding the Special Operations Group which is the sheriff’s team of detention deputies involved in Sutherland’s death. Wilson said the information consists of hours of videos and hundreds of documents.

She said officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, her office and later the FBI had been requesting the information for nearly seven months. She said her office has already discovered evidence relevant to the investigation.

“While some of the information has proven to be unimportant, we cannot determine the evidentiary value of a piece of information until we have reviewed it,” Wilson said.

Sheriff Kristin Graziano released a statement which placed the blame on not releasing information quickly enough on the previous sheriff’s office administration’s lack of training records involving the Special Operations Group.

“As a result of the prior administration’s lack of training records as it pertains to the SOG unit, it has been difficult to obtain all information as quickly as we would like,” Graziano said. “However, I am committed to ensuring that the Sutherland family get the thorough investigation that they deserve. I will continue to work closely with the solicitor in her investigation.”

Wilson said she has met with the Sutherlands and their attorneys to inform them of this development.

“They share in my disappointment and concern over delays by the Sheriff’s Office,” Wilson said. “Because these latest items are necessary for the expert’s review, and the expert’s opinions are critical in my analysis, I will not make a final decision until we thoroughly vet this latest information.”

“Both the community and the Sutherland family deserve a thorough investigation and I will continue to push for that,” she said.

Sheriff Kristin Graziano released the following statement:

At the end of June this year, one of my staff members at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office discovered a Special Operations Group (SOG) training video that I believed relevant to the investigation into Jamal Sutherland’s death and the involvement of two former detention officers. I immediately contacted Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and made her aware of the newly discovered video.

As a result of this discovery, I deemed it prudent to do an additional expansive search for anything that may be considered relevant to this matter that had not already been submitted to the solicitor. This expansive search produced training materials and other information that had been previously submitted. The information that Solicitor Wilson referred to in her statement today was uncovered by a third party that our office deemed could be relevant to this investigation. While there were many duplicate files given to the solicitor, we submitted all information found out of an abundance of caution.

As a result of the prior administration’s lack of training records as it pertains to the SOG unit, it has been difficult to obtain all information as quickly as we would like. However, I am committed to ensuring that the Sutherland family get the thorough investigation that they deserve. I will continue to work closely with the solicitor in her investigation.

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