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CNN-National & Wolrd

Black bear released into the wild after being burned in Colorado wildfire

By David Williams, CNN

An orphaned black bear cub that was suffering from injuries received during Colorado’s biggest wildfire is running free in the Rockies after wildlife officials spent nearly five months nursing him back to health.

The yearling bear was released into the wild on May 5 in the mountains in Larimer County near Fort Collins, according to a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

Video of the release showed the bear scampering into the trees after a little coaxing from a wildlife officer, who banged and rocked the metal container he was transported in.

The cub weighed just 16.3 pounds when it was captured in December. Ranch owners reported the cub was sleeping on a porch on December 7, but wildlife officers were unable to find it when they arrived. On December 11, the cub was reported to be sleeping on a porch at the same ranch and a wildlife officer successfully captured it that evening.

The bear was covered in cockleburs and was severely dehydrated, weak and starving with its ears that were infected from frostbite, CPW said.

It had suffered burns on its feet during the Cameron Peak Fire, which engulfed 208,913 acres in the county between August 15 and December 2, 2020.

“This is an incredibly fortunate bear,” CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch said in the statement. “Most wild animals don’t survive the myriad of injuries they are exposed to, let alone be found, captured and treated successfully. He definitely would not have made it through much longer. It is the smallest bear cub I have ever seen at that time of the year, which helped us make the decision to try rehabilitation.”

CPW said it doesn’t know how long the bear had been orphaned, or when it was hurt, but its burns had been healing for at least a month.

“Since the foot injuries on this cub appeared to be healing well, and his other wounds were very treatable, we felt that with supportive care and nourishment his prognosis for recovery was very good,” said Dr. Pauline Nol, one of the veterinarians that treated the cub.

The cub lost portions of both ears due to the frostbite from exposure, CPW said. Wildlife officials suspect the orphaned bear didn’t have the wherewithal to find adequate shelter and was exposed to the elements.

They kept the bear awake over the winter instead of letting it hibernate, so it could eat and gain back its weight by springtime.

The bear, now 1 years old, had bulked up to 93 pounds by the time it was freed, according to the release.

“This bear went through an awful lot in its first year of life,” said Kristin Cannon, deputy regional manager for CPW’s Northeast region in the release. “Let’s hope humans can now help keep it wild by not rewarding it with our food sources and lowering its chances of survival.”

CNN’s Leslie Perrot contributed to this story.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

Houston police still don’t know where a missing tiger is. Here’s what we do know

By Rachel Trent, CNN

It’s a wild story about a wild animal, but you won’t find this tiger tale on Netflix.

A Bengal tiger last seen in a west Houston neighborhood on Sunday is still missing, according to police.

Investigators have fielded hundreds of calls in connection to the 9-month-old cat named India, police said. But they still don’t know where the tiger is.

Where did this tiger come from?

It’s not clear.

The man last seen in public with the tiger, Victor Hugo Cuevas, claimed the tiger was his, according to testimony from an off-duty deputy. But Cuevas’s attorney said that the tiger does not belong to his client; he has, however, cared for it occasionally in recent months. Cuevas, 26, released a video through his attorney of him playing with the tiger as if it were a dog in what looks like a dining and kitchen area.

Cuevas was out of jail on bond for an unrelated murder charge in Fort Bend County and on a separate charge of evading arrest earlier this year in Austin County when he was spotted with the cat Sunday. He was arrested Monday and charged with felony evading arrest, according to police. He bonded out by Wednesday afternoon. On Friday, the state argued Cuevas violated bond conditions multiple times over the years, including on Sunday. A Fort Bend County judge revoked his bond on the 2017 murder charge, so Cuevas is back behind bars.

Wes Manion, an off-duty deputy who lives in the neighborhood where the tiger was seen with Cuevas, testified that he had his weapon trained on the animal as he waited for police Sunday. Manion said Cuevas came out and pleaded with him not to kill the tiger, telling the deputy, “That is my tiger,” before grabbing it by the collar, kissing it on the forehead and taking it in the house. Manion added Cuevas got into an SUV with the tiger and drove off, ignoring numerous commands to stop.

Cuevas’s lawyer said his client returned the cat to its owner Sunday night, but didn’t identify the person.

The latest on the investigation

Police believe the tiger is still in Houston and that it has been in as many as eight different locations throughout the city during the past week.

While Texas law does allow ownership of a tiger with certain restrictions, it’s a violation of Houston law. City rules require wild animals that are dangerous to humans to be kept in an accredited zoo or shelter.

Animal control officers are helping police with the investigation, according to Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility, BARC.

“In the event any such animals are found in Houston, Animal Control Officers will impound the animals and transport them to a secure location — either BARC, another shelter, or regional wildlife facility — to protect the safety of the public as well as the animals’ health,” a city spokeswoman said in a statement.

At least one sanctuary has offered to take India once he’s found.

Carole Baskin weighs in

What would a modern tiger story be without a Carole Baskin cameo?

The founder of Big Cat Rescue and star of the Netflix series, “Tiger King,” is offering a $5,000 reward to whoever safely hands over India to an accredited sanctuary and works with authorities to convict whoever was involved in the buying and selling of the tiger, she said in a video posted to her Instagram account.

Baskin told CNN this week that those in the neighborhood near the tiger were in “extreme danger.”

“Tigers are hardwired to roam hundreds of square miles, so there’s no cage that’s going to be sufficient for them,” Baskin said. “The only reason that people have tigers as pets is to try to show off to others.”

Baskin said the off-duty deputy did the right thing.

“He kept eye contact, he backed away slowly. A tiger, if you look down, if you turn, if that neighbor had run back to his door, that triggers their instinct to kill,” she said.

CNN’s Rosa Flores, Ashley Killough, Ralph Ellis, Travis Caldwell, Holly Yan, Carma Hassan, Keith Allen, Amir Vera, Eric Levenson and Julia Jones contributed to this report.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

Virginia mom recruits four of her sons to work alongside her on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic

By Lauren M. Johnson, CNN

A Virginia nurse recruited her sons to work with her at Arlington County Public Health to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michele Fletcher, 58, has lived her entire life helping others, including first and foremost as a mother to seven children, so it was natural for her to recruit family to join the pandemic front lines.

Fletcher said it started when Covid-19 impacted the jobs of four of her sons — Michael, Kyle, Brendan and Nick.

When vaccines became available, Arlington Public Health sent out a message saying it needed help running vaccination sites, she said.

“So they were hiring and it just was like, ‘Hey, guys, we need you. Here’s an opportunity for you to do some good in the community and have jobs that are meaningful,’ and the rest is kind of history.”

The four men started working in different positions. Michael told CNN he quit his job at a grocery store to work as a volunteer coordinator.

“First of all, everyone should get vaccinated by their mother, it is the best experience possible,” he said. “The goal every day is just to help people. And I feel very fortunate to have found a way to be a part of that.”

Michael said his real inspiration was his mom, whom he watched start a career later in life, and care for those in underserved communities.

“That’s the sort of stuff that I would love to do,” he said. “And so, when this opportunity came around, I was like, ‘Oh, wait, I could actually I could do this right.’ It was an easy decision for me.”

Now giving back is the family business, and Michele and Michael said they wouldn’t have it any other way. They even joked about getting Michele’s grandchildren involved.

“I feel closer to everybody than I have maybe ever before. I don’t think we’ve ever had this much in common,” Michael said. “Pretty much every day someone gets to discover that we are all related, and that seems to bring everyone a lot of joy.”

Michele said it’s a gift to be able to see her sons in a different light, away from being under their family’s roof, and on their own.

“It’s just been a pleasure working with them. It really has,” she said. “We joke a lot of times … ‘Don’t make me call my mom … if you’re not going to do what you’re supposed to do, I can call my mom and she’s the safety officer. So, watch out!’ It’s been fun.”

On top of working with family, the Fletchers want everyone to know that you don’t have to have a medical degree to help fight on the front lines.

The easiest thing they suggest is to get vaccinated, but if someone is looking for greater involvement they should check their local Medical Reserve Corps for job openings or volunteer opportunities.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

University cancels $700,000 in debt for graduates affected by pandemic

By Melissa Alonso, CNN

Delaware State University is cancelling more than $700,000 in student loans for recent graduates hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

DSU will cancel $730,655 for more than 220 people, the school announced this week.

“The average eligible student will qualify for about $3,276 in debt relief,” according to the statement from the historically black, public university.

“Too many graduates across the country will leave their schools burdened by debt, making it difficult for them to rent an apartment, cover moving costs, or otherwise prepare for their new careers or graduate school,” said Antonio Boyle, DSU’s Vice President for strategic enrollment management. “While we know our efforts won’t help with all of their obligations, we all felt it was essential to do our part.”

DSU is paying for the expenses through the federal American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief, university officials said in the statement Wednesday.

“Our students don’t just come here for a quality college experience,” said University President Tony Allen. “Most are trying to change the economic trajectory of their lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. Our responsibility is to do everything we can to put them on the path.”

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CNN-National & Wolrd

Five people shot, two fatally, at Chicago gathering

By Chris Boyette

Five people were shot, two fatally, during a gathering early Saturday on the South Side of Chicago, police said.

Detectives were searching for a yet to be identified person who fled the scene — described by the fire department as a yard party in the Gresham section.

A 26-year-old man was shot in the head and pronounced dead at University of Chicago Medical Center, according to police.

Police later said the other fatality was a 21-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the head who had been transported to University of Chicago Medical Center.

A 23-year-old man was shot in the right arm and was transported in critical condition to Christ Hospital, according to police.

A 25-year-old man was shot in the shoulder and transported in fair condition to University of Chicago Medical Center, police said. Another 21-year-old man, also shot in the shoulder, was in fair condition at Christ Hospital, police said.

The shooting occurred just after 3 a.m. Saturday on South Loomis Boulevard, CNN affiliate WLS reported.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

Falling ice kills climber in Alaska’s Denali National Park

By Jay Croft, CNN

A climber was killed and another injured when a block of ice fell from a glacier in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, the National Park Service says.

The ice fell from Ruth Glacier, hitting the two-man rope team Thursday morning, the park service said in a release.

The 31-year-old male survivor, from Logan, Utah, was knocked out by the falling ice. When he regained consciousness, he saw that his climbing partner, a 32-year-old man from Rigby, Idaho, had been killed.

The Utah climber then alerted park officials using an InReach satellite communication device about an hour after the incident.

“Despite significant injuries, the surviving climber managed to move to a location outside of the debris zone to await rescue,” the release said.

Rangers rescued him by helicopter and he was taken by air ambulance for further care.

The weather initially blocked rangers’ attempts to return to the site. On Friday afternoon, the National Park Service announced it was able to recover the climber’s remains, according to affiliate KTUU.

Denali National Park and Preserve is about 240 miles north of Anchorage. It includes North America’s highest peak, Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

Preakness Stakes set to welcome fans and Medina Spirit after the colt’s failed post-Derby drug test

By Eric Levenson, CNN

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is set to race in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday evening, days after failing a post-Derby drug test.

The 146th running of the Preakness will once again be the second event in the Triple Crown of horse racing, a return to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic upended last year’s schedule. A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed to attend, too, with masks required unless eating or drinking.

The race will be broadcast on NBC, with the start scheduled for around 6:50 p.m. ET.

“We are thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to Pimlico Race Course for Preakness 146,” said Belinda Stronach, the chairman, CEO and president of 1/ST, which owns Pimlico.

“While fan attendance will be limited due to COVID-19 protocols, the excitement of the Preakness is not limited. The 1/ST team has worked tirelessly and in cooperation with Baltimore City and the State of Maryland to thoughtfully and safely prepare for an exciting and memorable day of world-class Thoroughbred horse racing and entertainment.”

The return of the fans won’t be able to pry the focus from Medina Spirit and controversial trainer Bob Baffert, who is not expected to attend the race.

Preakness race organizers said Baffert consented to blood tests for Medina Spirit and monitoring by the Maryland Racing Commission in order to run Saturday in the 10-horse field. The results of the blood samples from the horse were deemed clear, officials said Friday.

Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago but then tested positive for elevated levels of betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid, throwing the victory into question.

Baffert, a Hall of Fame horse trainer, denied he had done anything wrong, calling the test results an “injustice to the horse” and bizarrely telling Fox News that the horse was a victim of “cancel culture.”

But in a statement Tuesday, Baffert acknowledged the horse was treated before the Derby with an ointment containing betamethasone.

“Following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end. I had him checked out by my veterinarian who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis and prevent it from spreading,” part of Baffert’s statement reads.

“While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results. As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information,” the statement adds.

Medina Spirit has not been disqualified as the winner of the Derby. A split sample from Medina Spirit is being tested, and if the original results are confirmed, then Baffert would have a chance to appeal. If an appeal is unsuccessful, Medina Spirit would be stripped of the Kentucky Derby crown as well as the prize money.

The test results will not be available for at least four to eight weeks.

Last year’s Preakness was delayed because of the pandemic and took place in October without spectators. The winner was Swiss Skydiver, a 3-year-old filly ridden by jockey Robby Albarado and owned by Peter Callahan under trainer Kenneth McPeek.

The third race of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes, scheduled for June 5.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

Bob Baffert spent a lifetime getting to the top of the field in horse racing. Controversy now stalks him

By Steve Almasy, CNN

To Bob Baffert, there’s no better place than one he has visited a record seven times — the place where the Kentucky Derby winner gets adorned with roses and sport proclaims the horse and humans as heroes.

“If there’s a heaven it’s in that (Churchill Downs) winner’s circle,” he told CNN in 2019. “That’s the most expensive piece of real estate in the world. It costs so much money to get into that small patch of grass but it’s worth every penny of it.”

But two weeks after spending a glorious evening in that winner’s circle, the Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer is dogged by questions following a positive drugs test in his most recent winner.

Medina Spirit, who was a 12-to-1 favorite at post time for the Derby, had betamethasone — an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid sometimes used to relieve joint pain — in a blood sample. Kentucky horse racing rules don’t allow that and tell trainers to stop using the therapeutic 14 days before an event.

The test result cast an unwelcome spotlight on the Hall of Fame trainer who has had a handful of horses fail drug tests in the past year.

One horse, a filly named Gamine, tested positive for betamethasone in Kentucky last year. An attorney for Baffert, W. Craig Robertson III, sent CNN a statement this week saying the trainer and his team acknowledged giving the horse the drug but did so before the 14-day withdrawal window.

“The vet gave it 18 days out from the race — adding an additional four day layers of safety — to make sure it cleared the horse’s system,” Robertson said. “However, for whatever reason, it did not clear Gamine’s system.”

Robinson said after the Gamine experience, the Baffert barn decided not to use the betamethasone.

“That’s why this result was particularly shocking because we had specifically made a decision not to use that particular anti-inflammatory,” he said.

Baffert said this week that in April an ointment used to treat Medina Spirit’s dermatitis contained the steroid.

“While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged (amounts of the steroid) found in Medina Spirit’s postrace blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results,” Baffert said.

In the past year, Baffert had four horses fail drug tests, including Medina Spirit and Gamine (which actually failed two).

Baffert was suspended for suspended 15 days by the Arkansas Racing Commission due to Gamine and another horse failing tests because they had lidocaine in their systems, but last month the suspension was overturned, and the results were reinstated.

In Medina Spirit’s case, the horse is still listed as the Derby winner, and if the colt wins the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes on June 5, it will win Baffert his third thoroughbred Triple Crown.

After a close loss at his first Derby, Baffert was crushed

It’s been an amazing journey for the man who grew to love horses at a young age and came to seek the allure of the Triple Crown.

The first time Bob Baffert, now 68, took a horse to the Kentucky Derby, in 1996, his thoroughbred Cavonnier looked like a winner only to be beaten to the finish line by the nose of Grindstone. It took a photo to see which horse won.

“I thought (Cavonnier) won, but he got caught and got beat an inch in the end,” Baffert said two years ago. “It was a devastating loss. I just thought I’d blown my shot. For a year I was sort of depressed about it.”

He hadn’t blown his shot.

He won with Silver Charm the next year and Real Quiet the year after that.

Baffert has trained the winners of 17 Triple Crown races and four Breeders’ Cup Classics. Four times he has been named thoroughbred racing’s trainer of the year.

Two legendary horses — American Pharoah and Justify — won Baffert his Triple Crown awards. (Justify’s Derby qualifier win was called into question by the New York Times but California racing officials found no violations)

Only two trainers have won more purse money than him. He has saddled more than 3,000 winners in his four-decade career.

Started on an Arizona ranch

Baffert grew up in the 1950s and 60s on a cattle ranch in Nogales, Arizona, on the border with Mexico.

“I wanted to be a horse trainer against my mother’s will,” he told CNN two years ago. “She said, ‘How can you make living being a horse trainer in Arizona?’

“I just love being around horses. Once it gets in your blood, the passion, you can’t get out.”

Baffert and his father would take their cattle to shows in the region. Later they began to training quarter horses — American-bred horses known for their tremendous speed over a quarter mile — for races.

Baffert would sometimes race his horses in non-sanctioned meets around Nogales, then compete in some official races. But he outgrew the ability to take to the saddle.

“I was too big, I ate myself out of a job,” Baffert said.

After studying animal sciences in college in the early 1970s, he came home to train horses with his father.

He thought his progress was slow.

“I was really disgusted with it,” he said, referring to his development as a trainer.

Success began at California track

A short stint as a teacher didn’t work out either, so he returned to the tracks, training some horses for a friend.

“I decided to give it one more go,” he said. “I started winning and the next thing you know I’ve got five, 10, 15 horses and then I was going.”

In 1983, Baffert moved to California to train his nine best horses at the famous Los Alamitos quarter-horse track near Los Angeles.

“I was very intimidated because I knew how tough it was,” he said.

He told a friend that if the first race results weren’t good, he would head back to Arizona.

His first day, with three horses competing, he had one win and two thirds.

In the late 1980s, Baffert switched to training thoroughbreds, with dreams of going to the Kentucky Derby.

For Baffert, training race horses isn’t really work.

“Trainers go to sleep thinking about our horses and we wake up thinking about our horses,” he says.

“That’s the beauty of it. We are working outdoors with these magnificent animals. It’s the greatest therapy you can have. Whenever you’re feeling down or depressed I just go to the barn and hang out with them.

“I’m so lucky that I found something I totally love.”

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CNN-National & Wolrd

‘No regard for human safety’: Police chief says 7 people remain hospitalized from Rhode Island shooting

By Aya Elamroussi, Jennifer Henderson and Hollie Silverman, CNN

Seven of the nine people who were injured in Thursday’s shooting in Providence, Rhode Island, remained hospitalized Friday, the city’s police chief said.

The shooting that began shortly before 7 p.m. on Thursday at a house was between two feuding groups who know each other, Providence Chief of Police Hugh Clements said. It has been determined by authorities that the shooting was targeted, not random.

Four people inside a Dodge Ram truck drove up to a residence porch that had five or six people on or near it, Clements said. Guns drawn, the people left the truck and fired at least 40 rounds from their pistols and semi-automatic pistols, he said.

At least two people on the porch fired back, Clements said, sending the four who initiated the gunfire back into the truck.

At least three of the injured were dropped off at a hospital using the truck, and police recovered it near there after it was ditched, Clements said.

Three of the seven who are still being treated at Rhode Island Hospital are in critical condition, and four are in stable condition, Clements said Friday during a press conference. The four people who were in the truck are under guard by the police department so they can be taken into custody upon their release, Clements said.

A search warrant on the house where the shooting happened led authorities to six pistols and two rifles, and between 50 and 60 casings were picked up, Clements said. He added that in 2017, a search warrant was executed on the same house with some of the same individuals, and they recovered five pistols and five rifles.

“This is ongoing. These are groups, individuals that know each other extremely well. These are not gangs in the sense of red and blue, Crips and Bloods,” Clements said. “These are groups of young men in the community who easily have access to firearms and exact their revenge on each other.”

Clements said Thursday that the two groups are known to police and are part of two feuding groups. The ages of those in the shooting range from 19 to 25, he added. Only one patient was taken to Rhode Island Hospital on Thursday by ambulance while the remaining arrived in private vehicles.

“It’s all senseless, it’s just the cycle of violence that has gone on for years, couple of years with these two groups, and this was clearly targeted, it was not random… There is no regard for human safety and human life,” Clements said Friday.

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CNN-National & Wolrd

South Carolina sheriff announces changes to bond hearings following the death of a mentally ill Black man in custody

By Madeline Holcombe, Dakin Andone and Chris Boyette, CNN

Following the release of footage showing the death of a Black man as deputies forcibly removed him from his cell, a South Carolina sheriff announced changes to address the safety of mentally ill inmates.

“Our responsibly was the safety of Jamal Sutherland and he died in our facility, so we need to examine that,” Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said.

Jamal Sutherland died at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston on January 5, 2021, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said. Footage shows deputies pepper spraying and tasing Sutherland, 31, multiple times after he appeared to resist leaving his cell for a bail hearing.

Sutherland was pronounced dead after attempts by medical staff at the facility to save his life, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office at the time.

Jamal’s mother, Amy Sutherland, criticized the the way her son was detained. She was not notified when he was taken to jail from the mental health facility he was in, even though she was his guardian, she said. She also accused the deputies of teasing and provoking her son.

“When they are tasing him, when they are throwing pepper spray, Jamal begins to praise God. Hallelujah, that’s who Jamal was,” Amy Sutherland told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview Friday.

Graziano said she has already implemented several changes in protocol including allowing detainees of the jail to waive their appearance at bond hearings, adding technology to allow for remote bond hearings as well as an independent assessment done on all policies and procedures.

To better respond to mental health needs of detainees at the detention center, Graziano said she has implemented a policy to make sure residents get medications they need but acknowledged the sheriff’s office needs more mental health professionals on staff — they have one — and needs help with training and future policy.

‘Jamal was a great man,’ mother says

The footage — from jail surveillance cameras and body cameras — was released Thursday night at the request of Sutherland’s family, Graziano said in a statement posted on Twitter late Thursday night.

“Mental illness does not give anybody the right to put their hands on my child,” Amy Sutherland said in a news conference Friday, describing him as “an example of what I wanted him to be.”

“I want y’all to know Jamal was a great man. He had faults like everybody else, but he was a great man,” she said. “I’m content that God has Jamal.”

Family attorney Mark A. Peper said the family would endeavor to answer Sutherland’s last question: “What is the meaning of this?”

“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,” Peper said.

Sutherland’s death comes at a time when law enforcement are under increased scrutiny for their use of force, particularly against Black people and other people of color, in addition to their encounters with people in the midst of mental health episodes, like Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, and Miles Hall in Walnut Creek, California.

The two deputies involved in Sutherland’s death were initially suspended for 30 days and are now on desk duty, said Graziano, who was elected in November and began her duties as sheriff on the day of the incident.

Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson has said her office is reviewing the case and she will decide about whether anyone will be criminally charged “before the end of June.”

In a statement released with the videos, Graziano called the incident “a horrible tragedy.”

“Our officers removed Mr. Sutherland from his cell that morning in order to ensure that he received a timely bond hearing, as required by law,” Graziano said. “Their efforts were complicated by the increasing effects that Mr. Sutherland was suffering as a result of mental illness.”

She also offered the family her “sincere condolences and apologies” for what happened.

“My heart goes out to them,” she said.

While there are frequent instances of physical confrontations with detainees at the jail, she said she thinks about Sutherland’s death and what she saw on video.

“I’m still horrified,” she said. “It bothered me.”

Sutherland was tased at least 6 times, deputy says

Peper said Sutherland had asked his family for help dealing with his mental illness on December 31, 2020. The family had taken him to a local mental health center where they hoped he would be safe.

According to North Charleston Mayor Keith Sumney, officers responded to Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health Center on January 4 after calls of a “large scale fight” that had “erupted between patients and staff.” In body camera footage released by North Charleston, officers were told Sutherland had punched a staff member and threw a fax machine.

According to Peper, an altercation occurred between two patients other than Sutherland, and that the center had called 911 in response. While police were responding, Peper said, “Jamal became agitated” and intervened in an effort to help.

“Given the confusion, he is alleged to have committed a misdemeanor offense of simple assault on a nurse staff member” at the center, Peper said.

In a statement, the health center’s CEO Timothy A. Miller said the staff had “followed facility protocols” in their attempt to bring the situation under control and that police were called to further “help protect the safety of our patients and staff.”

On the morning he died, Sutherland was scheduled to attend a bail hearing for a misdemeanor assault charge, according to a statement from Wilson, the county solicitor. Deputies at the detention center were responsible for moving Sutherland from his jail cell, according to the statement.

At the beginning of the footage from one of the body cameras, a deputy is heard saying Sutherland has refused to leave his cell and that he took “an aggressive stance.” The deputy also says a captain has been notified and that the judge required Sutherland appear before the judge. Deputies were going to extract Sutherland from the cell while medical personnel were present, he says on the video.

The video shows deputies asking Sutherland to put his hands through the cell door so he could be handcuffed and taken to court. Sutherland is seen in his cell and heard yelling, “I’m warning you, I’m warning you.” Deputies note Sutherland has a spoon in his hand.

About 15 minutes pass before a deputy deploys pepper spray into Sutherland’s cell. Sutherland is heard coughing and wraps a blanket around his head. Deputies deploy another round of pepper spray a few minutes later, as Sutherland stands in the corner of the cell, covering his face with the blanket.

Deputies soon unlock the cell door and tase Sutherland, who is heard yelling out in pain. While on the ground, Sutherland is ordered to “slide to the door” and “get on your stomach.” Video shows him sitting down, inching toward the door.

“What is the meaning of this?” he asks.

The deputies enter the cell to cuff Sutherland and one tells him not to resist. “I’m not resisting, officer,” says Sutherland. Deputies try to handcuff Sutherland with his arms behind his back, and a deputy says “loosen up” before using his left hand to force Sutherland to the ground.

The sound of a Taser is heard again as Sutherland cries out. He’s seen flat on the ground, his legs flailing as deputies try to gain control, yelling at him, “put your hands behind your back, Sutherland.” A male deputy has a knee on Sutherland’s back between his shoulder blades while a female deputy sits on his lower back, a knee on each side of Sutherland.

Sutherland is eventually handcuffed and slid out of his cell into a common area, where deputies remove Taser barbs from his front and back and lift a motionless Sutherland into a nearby wheelchair. A medic enters the frame, and a deputy asks, “Will you check him?”

The medic checks Sutherland’s pulse and says he’s breathing before asking deputies to put him back on the floor. More medics soon arrive to help, and one says they feel a pulse.

Deputies explain what happened. “He got tased about probably six to eight times, at least,” one says.

EMS is called and paramedics arrive about 12 minutes later, eventually hooking Sutherland up to an automatic chest compression machine. After about 35 minutes of trying to revive Sutherland, the paramedics stop the machine. A few minutes later, a blanket is placed over him.

CNN’s Amanda Watts, Steve Almasy, Dave Alsup, Phil Gast and Alta Spells contributed to this report.