‘I’ve done all I could do’: Mother of Jamal Sutherland reacts to DOJ not pursuing charges

The mother of Jamal Sutherland held a Wednesday news conference following the announcement that the DOJ will not pursue civil rights charges in her son's death.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 1:31 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2022 at 7:54 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The mother of Jamal Sutherland held a Wednesday news conference following the announcement that the Department of Justice will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against two former Charleston County deputies.

Jamal died on Jan. 5, 2021, after being forcibly extracted from his cell so he could attend a bond hearing on an assault charge at the Charleston County Detention Center.

After reviewing evidence, prosecutors did not find enough to charge the two deputies involved in Jamal’s extraction with federal criminal civil rights charges, according to spokesman Derek Shoemake.

“I wanted to scream again,” Amy said when asked about her reaction to the decision. “But screaming days is over, there is no more screaming. I don’t need to cry anymore because I still cry. I cry for the rest of my life. But my tears didn’t do anything to solve any problems.”

With the decision from the DOJ, Amy feels she has done everything she can in getting help in the investigation into her son’s death.

Back in July 2021, Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced there would be no criminal charges issued to the deputies involved in Jamal’s death. Wilson called the death a “travesty” and said it should not have happened. However, Wilson said she could not “prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt in this case.”

Amy said Wilson’s investigation influenced the DOJ’s investigation.

“I think when the solicitor copped out, I felt that she was giving everybody else justification to say that they can’t prove intent,” Amy said.

Before the decision to not press criminal charges was announced, a judge approved a $10 million settlement between Sutherland’s family and Charleston County, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and the City of North Charleston.

At the conference, Amy said that the money has not made them happy and that she wants to help others that also feel the system has wronged them.

“Helping somebody else is what it’s all about,” she said. “If you fail, or the system fails you. You don’t go sit down; you get up and do something for somebody else. And so, that’s what I want to do.”

A little over four months after Jamal’s death, Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano fired the two detention deputies involved in his death.

The conference can be viewed below: