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John Neville

Source: Forsyth County Jail

Protesters are calling for justice after a North Carolina man died days after being apprehended by jail guards while yelling “I can’t breathe.”

According to WFMY News2, video footage was made public that shows what occurred before John Neville’s death. More than 40 minutes of body camera footage was recorded in Forsyth County Jail back in December, and four minutes of the video was shown by WFMY. According to Associated Press, Neville was being held in the jail on a warrant accusing him of assaulting a woman.

The footage leading to his death begins in Neville’s jail cell and it shows several officers surrounding him on the floor after he fell from his top bunk bed. The detention officers tell him that he appears to have had a medical emergency. “You’re alright. You’re OK. You had a seizure,” one officer said. Over the next couple of seconds, Neville and the officers are calm and he can be heard breathing.

“You’re going to be alright buddy. Alright? You’re going to be alright. Having a little bit of a medical episode, here,” another officer explained in the video. 

When a nurse tries to take Neville’s blood pressure a couple of seconds later, Neville gets restless.

“Stay right there,” an officer says.

“Let me out!” Neville replies.

 “No. They’re trying to protect you from yourself. You’re having a medical emergency,” another officer says.

The video shows one of the detention officers with a knee placed on Neville’s arm, supposedly as a way to keep him restrained. As the video continues, Neville comes back into the frame and something is over his head. At this point, Neville is starting to breathe heavily. The autopsy report said officers placed a mesh spit mask on him after he attempted to bite them.

The autopsy report went on to say that officers helped Neville to his feet and placed him in a restraint chair, which is present in the body-camera footage. The officers then escort Neville to an observation cell and they place him face down on a floor mattress to take off his handcuffs. They hold his shoulders, arms and legs in the process.

At this point, Neville can’t be seen in the four-minute video WFMY released. Only five officers can be seen. This is when Neville starts to yell, “I can’t breathe multiple times.”


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