The death certificate of Jamal Sutherland, a Black man who died in police custody after he was pepper-sprayed and shocked with a stun device in a jail cell, was amended to say the manner of death was homicide, attorneys representing Sutherland’s family said.
Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal made the change after additional testing found that the death was “best deemed to be homicide,” attorneys Mark A. Peper and Gary Christmas added.
“The family reached this same conclusion immediately upon seeing the video of his death, thus they are pleased with the amended finding and remain steadfast in their pursuit of justice for Jamal,” they said.
O’Neal’s office said they plan to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to further discuss the amended death certificate.
While the coroner’s finding addresses the manner of death, it makes no determination on whether Sutherland’s killing was unlawful.
Sutherland, 31, died on Jan. 5, one day after he was arrested following a fight at a psychiatric facility where he was receiving mental health treatment.
Sheriff’s deputies at the jail tried to remove Sutherland from his cell for a bond hearing. Video shows two deputies outside the cell and one deploying his Taser. The deputy appears to use the Taser repeatedly on Sutherland as he cries out in pain and writhes on the floor.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Minyvonne Burke