Attorney Ben Crump, Jamal Sutherland family to demand charges

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:01 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:20 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump and the family of Jamal Sutherland will be holding a news conference on Jamal’s birthday to demand for justice in his death.

The news conference will be held on Thursday at noon outside the office of the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office in downtown Charleston.

Sutherland died on the morning of Jan. 5, 2021 after becoming unresponsive as detention deputies forcibly removed him from his cell so that he could attend a bond hearing on an assault charge.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she could not bring criminal charges against the former deputies because she would not be able to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

In addition to Crump and Sutherland’s family, the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Daunte Wright will be attending along with Rev. Nelson Rivers.

“Jamal Sutherland was suffering from a mental health crisis when he was admitted to jail, where he was tased and pepper-sprayed repeatedly, dying shortly after,” Crump said in a statement released on Wednesday. “His last words were, ‘I can’t breathe.’ His death raises questions about how people with a mental illness receive treatment within the criminal justice system and what alternative strategies could have saved Sutherland’s life. To date, the detention officers who tasered and pepper-sprayed Sutherland before his death have not faced any criminal charges.”

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