Video released in August 2020 showed detention officers and a nurse surrounding Neville. The officers restrained him and placed a spit mask over his face while Neville cried out for his mother and said, “I can’t breathe,” for the first time. Detention officers took him to another cell, placed him on a mattress face down and piled on top of him in an effort to remove his handcuffs.
Over a three-minute period, Neville said “I can’t breathe” at least 28 times. He was later taken to Wake Forest Baptist, where he died.
Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough of Forsyth County did not acknowledge publicly Neville’s death for six months until the Winston-Salem Journal asked him about it.
The sheriff’s office released a statement Wednesday about the case.
“Even before the death of John Neville became public, Sheriff Kimbrough engaged in dialogue with and offered support to the Neville children,” the statement said. “We honored their requests and decisions as we were legally able.”
On July 8, 2020, District Attorney Jim O’Neill of Forsyth County announced that five detention officers and one nurse would be charged with involuntary manslaughter — Lt. Lavette Maria Williams, 48; Cpl. Edward Joseph Roussel, 51; Officer Christopher Bryan Stamper, 42; Officer Antonio Maurice Woodley Jr., 26; Officer Sarah Elizabeth Poole, 36; and Michelle Heughins, 45, a nurse for Wellpath, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company that was the medical provider at the jail.