Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano announced on Monday that two cops involved in the in-custody death of a mentally ill Black man have been fired (May 17).
Jamal Sutherland died in January after being forcibly removed from his detention cell in North Charleston, South Carolina, according to CNN. In a tweet, Graziano said, “Today, I made the decision to terminate the two detention deputies engaged in this matter.” “For the protection of all residents, staff, and our community, I must balance the interest of public safety for the community against any occurrence that generates even the perception of an impairment to the running of the Detention Center.”
“The workers are Sgt. Lindsay Fickett, who has been with the department since March 2011, and Detention Deputy Brian Houle, who has been with the department since July 2016,” the tweet stated.
Sutherland’s brutal removal from his detention cell was captured on camera and released to the public last week. After the 31-year-old refused to attend his bond court hearing, Fickett and Houle were seen deploying pepper spray and tasers on him. As he was being handcuffed, the policemen pressed him against the cell floor and put a spit mask over his face, yelling, “I can’t breathe.”
Sutherland’s body was noticeably limp when the deputies hoisted him onto a restraining chair. CPR was administered to the victim, but he remained unconscious. According to bodycam footage, Houle and Fickett used the stun guns on Sutherland “six to eight times at least,” despite the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s recommendation that they not be used by more than one deputy and should not be used on people who are actively resisting or showing hostility.
As a teenager, Sutherland was diagnosed with bipolar illness and schizophrenia. In Goose Creek, South Carolina, he lived with his parents. He was first arrested after a brawl at a nearby mental health facility.