The family of a Black man who died while in the custody of police officers in South Carolina will be awarded $10 million in damages, according to a report by The State (Columbia, SC).
The county of Charleston in South Carolina has agreed to pay the family of Jamal Sutherland, a Black man who had a vast history of mental illness, $10 million after he died in January inside the county jail. Two police deputies had used pepper spray on him while forcing him onto his stomach and shocked him repeatedly with Taser guns. The death took place at the Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston.
Charleston County Council approved the $10 million settlement in a unanimous vote Tuesday. Councilman Teddie Pryor, who met with the Sutherland family last week, said, “We know that no amount of money will bring their loved one back, but I think this starts the healing process. We want to start the healing process but that can’t start until we start facing the truth and facing what’s going on.”
According to CNN, footage from the police killing was released May 12 by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. The video showed deputies pepper spraying and tasing Sutherland, 31, several times after he appeared to resist leaving his cell for a bail hearing. The deputies involved in the incident, Sgt. Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle, were fired on May 17.
Sutherland’s family released a statement through their attorney, Mark Peper of Charleston.
“Justice for Jamal will come in many forms. We are pleased to have negotiated a settlement with the government entities that provides the type of civil justice he deserves, but our work is not yet done. With God’s help, we will continue the necessary conversations with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that everyone affected by mental illness is treated with the same dignity and respect we all deserve and demand. As we move forward, please continue to pray for our family, our community, each other, and justice for Jamal.”