LASON BUTLER: Family of man who died in custody moving forward with lawsuit against Richland County, detention center staff
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — A family of a Richland County man who died in custody is filing a lawsuit against the county and more specifically, against staff at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Lason Butler, 27, was found dead on February 12 and his loved ones are still seeking answers.
“This is by far the worst civil rights case I have ever seen, from the rats that bit Mr. Butler to the fact that he died of dehydration,” said attorney Bakari Sellers.
The Richland County coroner ruled Lason Butler’s death as a homicide and the autopsy report lists his cause of death as dehydration.
Wednesday, Butler’s parents spoke about their grief as his mother moves forward with a lawsuit against Richland County and Alvin S. Glenn staff.
“You took my son from me. He is priceless. I hurt every day,” said Lason’s mother Lakeshia. “Every day there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my son.”
“For all those working at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, think about what you’ve done to my son,” said Lason’s father John Matthews. “You took part of my son. I know and you know that it was wrong.”
Butler was arrested on January 31st and charged with reckless driving, failure to stop for a blue light and driving with a suspended license.
His mother says she attempted to pay his bond so he could be released.
“It was $1,500, but it didn’t matter because I had the money,” Lason’s mother said. “It wasn’t about the money. They told me they had a hold on him.”
“What we found out is he had a hold from the same incident in the city of Cayce,” Sellers said. “It was another misdemeanor charge that was an unauthorized use of a vehicle. It’s a $500 bond over there.”
The attorney’s presentation stated that Butler faced subhuman conditions of confinement and suffered deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
“From what we can tell here, Lason Butler did not leave his cell at any time despite questions raised that he may need to see someone in medical to get better treatment,” said attorney Amy Willbanks. “He might have needed to get outside treatment. The family was told that he didn’t qualify for that.”
Lawyers presented statements from nurses and inmates who raised concerns about Butler’s condition.
According to attorney Bakari Sellers, any criminal charges against detention center staff would have to come from solicitor Byron Gipson.
“The sheriff’s department’s investigation is complete,” Sellers said. “The file sits on the desk of the Richland County solicitor at this time.”
“He was a human being. It doesn’t matter what he did. Everybody makes mistakes,” Lakeshia Butler said. “That’s what he made, a mistake. He shouldn’t have had to pay with his life.”
We reached out to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center concerning the lawsuit but have yet to hear back from them.