Having observed the utterly inhumane and callous manner in which five sheriff’s detention officers and a nurse took the life of Mr. John Neville, I am angry and heartbroken. Mr. Neville should be alive today. I pray for John Neville. I pray for his family.

I call on Sheriff Kimbrough and Forsyth County to immediately undertake the following reforms.

  1. Commit to a policy of full transparency under which the Sheriff’s Office agrees to inform the public about deaths in Sheriff’s custody, within 24 hours.
  2. End the use of the prone restraint/hog tie maneuver.
  3. End the use of knee to neck maneuvers.
  4. Commit that all sheriff officers, deputies and staff shall have a duty to intervene.
  5. Commit to train all sheriff officers, deputy and staff in anti-racist policing and jail facility managment within 6 months.
  6. Terminate the contract with medical services provider Wellpath. Multiple deaths have occurred during Wellpath’s tenure and at least five of those have resulted in lawsuits.
  7. Revise the Sheriff department’s annual report to include race, ethnicity, sex, sexual identification and native language data for each reporting subject.
  8. Establish an independent citizens review committee that will conduct annual audits of jail procedures.

I applaud District Attorney Jim O’Neill’s decision to charge the six individuals involved in Mr. Neville’s death and urge an aggressive prosecution.

I call on the State Legislature to reverse state laws that prevent the public from viewing police video without a court order. Repeatedly, failures around police video transparency have harmed people who have experienced illegal police violence, harmed police who would otherwise be exonerated, harmed the families of those involved and harmed our community.

Finally I applaud the work of the Triad Abolition Project and other advocates on the ground who’s advocacy and sacrifice brought the light of day to this matter.

– James Perry
President and CEO