Warning: This story contains material some may find disturbing.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WNCN/WFMY) – Newly released video from a December 2019 incident shows an inmate being restrained as he suffered from a medical episode at a North Carolina jail.
John Neville, 56, can be heard saying he can’t breathe before appearing to become motionless. He died at the hospital a few days later.
Neville had been in jail in Forsyth County for a day. He was accused of assaulting a woman.
CBS affiliate WFMY obtained a portion of the 40 minutes of video recently ordered by a judge to be released. The video, from Dec. 2, 2019, shows officers holding Neville face-down on the floor as he yells that he can’t breathe. The incident involved five officers and a nurse.
One of the officers insisted Neville could breathe.
“You’re breathing. You’re talking,” the officer said.
“I can’t breathe,” Neville said.
“Stop moving,” an officer said.
About 12 minutes later after Neville was first restrained, officers used a bolt cutter to free him from his handcuffs because the key had broken. Neville was silent and appeared to be motionless.
The incident happened shortly after a nurse began to treat Neville for what the Forsyth County District Attorney described as a “medical condition” he suffered in his sleep that caused him to fall from the top bunk of his cell.
The nurse performed CPR on Neville before he was taken to the hospital, where he died two days after the incident. The nurse and the five now-former officers were charged with involuntary manslaughter in June.
“It’s gonna be hard to watch. It’s gonna be hard to sit through,” Neville’s son, Sean Neville, said to protesters gathered in Winston-Salem. “But, most of all, if those feelings and those emotions that come up spur anything, keep working.”
Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough apologized to the Neville family earlier in the week.
“I was saddened by what I saw, as well. I cried, as well,” he said.
“Your father has changed the way health care will be dispensed at the Forsyth County Detention Centers.”
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