What Jamal Sutherland jailer said about Tasers: ‘We can’t wait for them to comply on their own’
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Former Charleston County Detention Deputy Lindsay Fickett, who was fired in connection to Jamal Sutherland’s death investigation, said that she prefers using a Taser over other methods of pain compliance in a 2018 deposition.
The deposition was a part of a lawsuit filed against more than a dozen employees of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. In the lawsuit, a former inmate accused Fickett of improperly using her Taser.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was mostly restrained in an emergency restraint chair. When the inmate refused to place her arm in the restraint, Fickett applied her Taser in drive-stun mode to the woman’s arm.
During the deposition, Fickett said she prefers using a Taser over other methods of pain compliance like pressure point or strength techniques because it is measurable and is the “same for everybody.”
As to why she activated the Taser for five seconds, instead of a shorter burst, Fickett said it’s because she wants to remain impartial.
“If I use a two-second drive-stun on somebody, versus a five-second drive-stun on somebody else, I’m being prejudiced, I’m using less force on this person versus this one, so we always do five seconds long,” she said.
When the lawyer questioned the necessity of using the Taser in this instance, Fickett said, “They’re not fully secured in the emergency restraint chair. We can’t wait for them to comply on their own. We have other things to do.”
She estimated she used a Taser in drive-stun mode on a restrained inmate 20 times during her then-four-year stint in law enforcement.
The lawyer asked if the most difficult-to-handle inmates tended to be people who are intoxicated or people who have mental illness, to which Fickett answered, “yes.”
Based on her personnel file, Fickett was not punished for her role in the incident. According to the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund, the plaintiff was paid $137,500.
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