2 deputies involved in Jamal Sutherland’s death are fired, Charleston Co. sheriff says

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Two deputies who were involved in the death of Jamal Sutherland while he was in custody at a South Carolina jail have been fired.

Charleston County sheriff Kristin Graziano fired the deputies Monday, nearly five months after Sutherland’s death Jan. 5 at the Al Cannon Detention Center.

“Today, I made the decision to terminate the two detention deputies (Detention Sergeant Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle) involved in this case,” Graziano said in a statement.

Sutherland, a Black man who died after being forcefully removed from his cell by deputies after refusing to attend a scheduled bond hearing, had been in treatment for mental illness. Sutherland also was shocked several times with stun guns.

He was arrested hours earlier at the Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health Center over an alleged fight at the facility. Sutherland was admitted to the treatment center in December.

Body camera video from the Jan. 5 incident was released last week by the sheriff’s office.

Protesters gathered Monday in Charleston, demanding justice for Sutherland, and calling for the deputies to be fired.

South Carolina leaders expressed anger over Sutherland’s death, as well.

“I’m not pleased with what I saw and I’m going to go a step further,” North Charleston City Councilman Jerome Heyward said Friday, adding that he planned to ask Graziano for her resignation. “I don’t have no faith in the sheriff.”

That same day, Graziano told reporters that the deputies were still employed by the sheriff’s office, and would continue to be “pending the outcome of this investigation.”

“They essentially have desk jobs,” she said.

Graziano changed her stance out of concern for the community, she said Monday.

“I must weigh the interest of public safety for the community against any incident that creates even the perception of an impairment to the operation of the Detention Center for the safety of all residents, staff and our community.”