Family of Orangeburg man who died in custody responds to DOJ investigation into Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center
RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The family of Lason Butler, the 27-year-old Orangeburg man who died while in custody at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in 2022, responded to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement it is launching an investigation into Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
A statement was released by the family’s attorneys Pete Strom, Bakari Sellers, Alexandra Benevento, Mario Pacella and Amy Willbanks of the Strom Law Firm along with Audia Jones of the Law Office of Audia Jones.
The statement said:
“For too long, the officials at Richland County have turned a blind eye to the violence and neglect infesting Alvin S Glenn. They have ignored this death trap and the cries of victims while the cost in lives and suffering continues to rise. It’s disgraceful, it’s inexcusable and it’s downright criminal. Time and again, Richland County has refused to act. Now it’s the Department of Justice’s turn. This investigation is about more than any single incident or the four walls of Alvin S Glenn. It’s about holding the powerful accountable when they treat citizens like they’re less than human. It’s about justice. We stand ready to help the DOJ in any way that we can and we look forward to a swift and comprehensive inquiry.”
Sellers said in a briefing after Butler’s death he was found with rat bites on his body and had died in the solitary confinement area.
The DOJ announced the launch of the civil rights investigation into two South Carolina jails on Thursday.
Officials said the investigation will be on Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston in addition to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
“Our office is committed to protecting the constitutional rights and ensuring the safety of all people in South Carolina, including those being detained or incarcerated in county detention centers,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina. “We look forward to working with the Civil Rights Division to ensure the safety of those housed in these facilities.”
The DOJ said they have enough evidence to open this investigation.
According to a press release, the investigation of the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center will examine medical and mental health care, use of isolation and use of force. It will also examine whether the jail discriminates against persons with disabilities inside the Detention Center.
At the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, the department said they will examine living conditions and whether the detention center fails to protect incarcerated individuals from violence.
The announcement was made during a press conference on Thursday. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina hosted the press conference to announce the civil rights investigations.
The conference was held via Zoom.
The department said they have received credible allegations that incarcerated persons have died from the use of force, gross medical neglect, or suicide in the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center.
The department also said it received credible allegations that the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center is structurally unsafe and that there have been sexual assaults, homicides and prevalent violence resulting in serious injuries.
“People confined in local jails across our country do not abandon their civil and constitutional rights at the jailhouse door,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We are launching these investigations to determine whether the jail conditions in two of South Carolina’s largest counties comply with basic constitutional standards. We are committed to ensuring that people held inside jails and prisons are not subjected to excessive force, violent conditions, inadequate medical and mental health care, and other dangerous physical conditions while in the custody of their local government.”
The Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is conducting these investigations jointly with the U.S. Attorney’s office in the District of South Carolina.
Richland County Administrator Leonardo Brown along with Richland County Attorney Patrick Wright are holding a press conference to discuss the investigation into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The press conference will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Richland County Administration Building on Hampton Street.
You can watch the press conference here or on our YouTube page.
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