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Lowcountry activist hopes conviction in Arbery case will affect Sutherland case

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:41 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:26 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A Lowcountry activist hopes the verdict in the trial of the death of Ahmaud Arbery will impact a high-profile case in Charleston.

A jury in Brunswick, Georgia, returned guilty verdicts on a variety of charges for Greg McMichael, his son, Travis, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan after 10 hours of deliberations. The three were convicted of killing Arbery, a Black man who was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision last year after chasing him and eventually shooting him with a shotgun.

The men face mandatory life sentences. The judge will decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.

The Rev. Nelson Rivers III, the Vice President of Religious Affairs and External Relations of...
The Rev. Nelson Rivers III, the Vice President of Religious Affairs and External Relations of the National Action Network, compared the Jamal Sutherland case in Charleston with the Ahmaud Arberty killing in Georgia.(Live 5)

The Rev. Nelson Rivers III, the Vice President of Religious Affairs and External Relations of the National Action Network, said the Arbery case and the Jamal Sutherland case are, in his opinion, similar and he wants the same outcome for the Sutherland family.

“It encourages us because, if you remember, the Ahmaud Arbery case had almost no mention,” Rivers III said. “It was two months before anything was said of any significance except that he was killed, and then, the video came out. Had the same thing here. Months went by, all we knew was he was killed. Then, the video came out, and the video was withheld from the family intentionally, we believe, and so now, they have the video, so now, why are we not doing what they did in Georgia? Now, why are we not doing the same thing? Searching and pressing for justice.”

Sutherland died on Jan. 5 while in custody at the Charleston County Jail.

Surveillance video showed him being hit with a Taser numerous times as Charleston County detention deputies forcibly removed him from his cell, so he could attend a bond hearing.

The video was released in May, four months after Sutherland’s death.

SPECIAL SECTION: Jamal Sutherland Death Investigation

However, Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said in July she would not file charges against the deputies involved because she cannot prove criminal intent.

Rivers, meanwhile, said with the conviction in Arbery’s death, he will continue to push for charges against the deputies, despite the solicitor’s decision.

The solicitor has called Sutherland’s death a “travesty” and added that it should not have happened.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.