LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) — Attorneys for the family of a man who died in custody in July 2021 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

40-year-old Jarvis Evans was taken into custody on the evening of July 29, 2021, and was charged with breach of peace and resisting arrest.

Evans had a history of mental illness and attorneys said he was high on drugs at the time of arrest. Dispatch recordings show Evans had called the sheriff’s office asking for help during a hallucination.

Within 30 minutes of being booked at the county jail, body camera footage showed that deputies held him by his neck, restrained him prone on the ground, tied him into a restraining chair, stunned him repeatedly while he was restrained and wheeled him into a holding cell.

Attorneys said Evans received no medical attention, which was required by law. Evans was later found unresponsive in his cell and subsequently died.

“Not a single medical person ever checked on Jarvis that night. You know why? Because not a single deputy ever gave a damn,” Evans family counsel Mark Peper said.

According to attorneys, the lawsuit targets Sheriff Don Reynolds for his alleged role in “negligent training, negligent supervision, and negligent retention of his JDC Detention Deputies caused the wrongful death.”

“Laurens County, we have to make sure that my son is the last, the last one to die in our county jail for lack of medical attention and excessive force,” said Evans’ mother, Catherine Cullen Evans.

Attorneys said Tuesday they plan to file a federal complaint against the deputies involved in Evans’ treatment at the facility.

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment.


(Body camera video released by Evans family attorney.)