Family of man who died in custody sues Laurens Co. sheriff

The family filed the lawsuit after Jarvis Evans died while in custody last year
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:37 PM EDT
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LAURENS, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The family of a man who died while he was in law enforcement custody has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Laurens County sheriff.

Jarvis Evans was booked into the Johnson Detention Center in July 2021 after being arrested for breach of peace and resisting arrest. The 41-year-old was later found unresponsive in his holding cell and died after being taken to the hospital.

According to lawyers representing Evans’ family, he was forcefully placed in a restraint chair with a spit mask covering his face and neck. They also said he was stunned with a Taser three times in less than 20 seconds before he died.

Family held a press conference with state lawmakers on Tuesday to call for accountability in his death. They said Evans suffered from mental health issues and received no medical care for injuries after his arrest.

“It’s time for people to have justice and its time for people to understand that law enforcement can’t do whatever they want to do and not face repercussions,” said Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Meyers.

Evans’ family accuses Sheriff Don Reynolds of negligent training, negligent supervision and negligent retention of detention center deputies.

Reynolds released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“Following the incident that occurred on July 29, 2021, I requested the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to respond and conduct an investigation into the matter. Additionally, our Office of Internal Affairs conducted a separate and internal investigation. At this time, I can confirm that my office has been served with a lawsuit pertaining to that incident, and in an effort to protect the integrity of such proceedings, we will not provide any further comment. Our attorney will respond to the formal complaint in the near future.”