No criminal charges sought after SLED investigation of Spartanburg jail death

·2 min read

No criminal charges will be filed following the in-custody death of Lavell Lane at the Spartanburg County Detention Facility, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The investigation is now closed after almost six months.

Lane, 29, died inside the Detention Center early Oct. 3, hours after being arrested for walking in the middle of Chesnee Highway. His family has criticized what they've called a lack of transparency in the case and protested at the jail multiple times since his death.

A letter reviewed by The Spartanburg Herald-Journal from the South Carolina Attorney General's office to SLED Chief Mark Keel declines prosecution of charges related to Lane's death. "We got a letter from SLED yesterday that said that there was no wrongdoing with our department, he passed of some medical condition," Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Friday.

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The letter signed by Assistant Attorney General Jerrod Fussnecker said there is no evidence to contradict Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger's ruling that Lane died due to neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

"I am not surprised because this happens all the time," said Dr. Candace Brewer of the Racial Justice Network, who has protested with and advocated for the family. "But at the same time, as a civil rights organization, we still have to hold police officers and sheriff's departments accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our motto is 'death requires responsibility.' A life was taken, somebody needs to be held accountable for it."

Wright first spoke publicly about the closure of Lane's case on Thursday evening at a panel discussion between Upstate law enforcement, activists and members of the community.

The Herald-Journal has filed a Freedom of Information request seeking additional documents relating to the investigation.

The news of Lane's case comes days after Jimmy Lee Hill, 41, died at the jail. Hill is the third inmate death of the year at the facility.

More: Calls made for DOJ investigation at Spartanburg jail weeks after report on inmate deaths

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

This article originally appeared on Herald-Journal: Spartanburg jail deaths: Investigation into Lavell Lane death closes