(ABC News): Two deputies from the detention center were fired on Monday as investigators investigated the January death of a black inmate who had mental health problems.
Camera footage of the Jan. 5 incident at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston, South Carolina, shows deputies using a stun gun at Jamal Sutherland and kneeling on his back before stop moving. An hour later, the 31-year-old was pronounced dead, according to his family, who suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Charleston County Sherriff Kristen Graziano announced that as part of the internal investigation, Detention Sergeant Lindsay Fickett and Detention Deputy Brian Houle were fired.
“I must weigh the public safety interest of the community against any incident that creates even the perception of a deterioration in the operation of the detention center for the safety of all residents, staff and our community,” he said in a statement.
Sutherland was registered Jan. 4 and charged with assault and third-degree battery in connection with an alleged fight that erupted at Palmetto Behavioral Health, a mental health and substance use center.
Amy Sutherland, Jamal Sutherland’s mother, left him at the center on New Year’s Eve, according to family lawyer Mark Peper. Amy Sutherland said at a news conference last week that the family learned of her death four hours after it occurred and were never informed that she had been transferred to jail.
“We didn’t get any information from anyone,” he said.
Graziano said a mental health professional is assigned to the Al Cannon Detention Center, but was not sure if that person was on duty Jan. 5.
The video from the body camera, released with permission from the Sutherland family, shows deputies removing the inmate from his cell for a court appearance. Sutherland rejects deputies’ orders to get to the door and be handcuffed, and after a few attempts, the deputies use pepper spray on him.
Deputies then proceeded to handcuff him and deploy narcotics weapons, according to the material.
In the video you can hear Sutherland saying, “I’m not resisting, officer.” A deputy is seen in the video putting his leg on the inmate’s back for more than two minutes as he said, “I can’t breathe.”
Officials are seen in the pictures trying to perform CPR in Sutherland after he limped.
A deputy is later seen in the video saying, “He probably received assignments about six to eight times.”
The Sutherland family called for the dismissal of MPs last week after requesting the body camera video
Graziano said she is “still horrified” by body camera videos, but promised there will be full investigation and changes to the department and the treatment of mental health cases.
“In my career as a law enforcement professional, I have seen my fellow officers take on mental health responsibilities that they are not prepared to take on. That needs to change and I am committed to implementing that change. “He said in a statement.
Josh Margolin of ABC News contributed to this report.