Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

The Justice for All Coalition, a group of Charleston-area advocacy organizations, sent a memo to Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and county council members Tuesday outlining proposals for reforms the group believes would make the county safer and more just for residents.

The memo, released partially in response to the January death of Jamal Sutherland, outlines concrete steps that county leaders should take to reduce the likelihood of such an event happening again. Proposals include ending fees for FOIA and data requests and committing to having no encrypted police radio.

The memo also includes further actions for Graziano that would transform the sheriff’s office into a model for other departments throughout the state, including ending participation in programs that encourage policing for profit, such as civil asset forfeitures.

Jamal Sutherland died at Al Cannon Detention Center Jan. 5, 2021 | Photo via Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

“Jamal’s death was the result of intentional decisions by our political leaders to turn police into a ‘solution’ for those experiencing a mental health crisis, substance use, housing insecurity and a host of other issues they’re overly relied upon for.,” Charleston Black Lives Matter organizer Marcus McDonald said in a press release. “We must wake up to the ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system. Charleston County Council must prioritize funding for mental healthcare and other supportive services over punishment and criminalization.”

Participating organizations include: The ACLU of South Carolina, Black Liberation Fund, Black Voters Matter, Charleston Immigrant Coalition, Charleston Activist Network, Charleston BLM, Lowcountry Action Committee, Lowcountry Black Leadership Coalition, SC4CJR, Carolina for All and the Racial Justice Network.

Read the full memo at