Mark Peper, the family attorney, made a claim during the news conference that should enrage anyone who wasn’t already enraged: He said Sutherland wasn’t involved in the fight that landed him in jail to begin with.


“An altercation occurred between two patients not named Jamal Sutherland,” Pepper said. “But due to the inability of Palmetto to properly handle–just as they have done many, many times–resulted in them calling 911 for mental health patients that challenged one another while facing their own challenges.”

He also said that Sutherland was arrested because he attempted to stop the fight.


“Jamal did exactly what he had been taught to do–the right thing–he intervened. He tried to help. And given the confusion is alleged to have committed a misdemeanor offense of simple assault on a nurse staff member.”

Pepper also said that “People with mental health issues are entitled to the same exact civil rights as you, and me, and every other healthy, wealthy person in this world.”