N Carolina sheriff apologizes for hog-tied inmate’s death

August 4, 2020 GMT

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff apologized on Tuesday to the family of a Black man who died while in custody last year, one day before a video of the incident that led to his death is set to be released.

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said during a news conference that he was saddened by the video showing jail officers hog-tying John Neville before Neville died at a local hospital last December.

“And I cried as well,” Kimbrough said, directing the comment to Sean Neville, John Neville’s son, who was seated in front of the sheriff alongside family attorney Mike Grace.

“While mistakes were made that day, the truth is the truth,” the sheriff said.

Five former detention officers and a nurse were charged last month with involuntary manslaughter in connection with John Neville’s death.

Kimbrough also said the sheriff’s office has undergone administrative changes as a result of Neville’s death, including what Kimbrough described as “integrative training” with the department which involves medical providers.

“Your father has changed the way health care will be dispensed at the Forsyth County Detention Center as well as how it will be dispensed throughout this region,” the sheriff said, adding that a portion of the jail will be named for Neville, pending permission from the family to do so.

Two portions of the video are to be released Wednesday morning. One of them runs nearly 20 minutes and is from the body camera of one of the five former detention officers involved. Another is almost 26 minutes.

According to an attorney for Neville’s family, the video shows Neville telling jailers 24 different times that he could not breathe while he was restrained with his arms behind his back and his legs folded in a “hog-tie” position, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Neville died of a brain injury on Dec. 4 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, three days after Kernersville police arrested him on a warrant accusing him of assaulting a female in Guilford County.