N.C. sheriff’s office changes restraint policy amid calls for justice in Black man’s death

N.C. sheriff’s office changes restraint policy amid calls for justice in Black man’s death
In this Feb. 12, 2019 image made from video and released by the Forsyth County, (N.C). Jail, authorities restrain John Neville in his cell as a nurse speaks with him, in Winston-Salem, N.C. The body-cam video from the jail shows Neville struggling with jail guards to get up from the floor where he was lying on his back, shouting that he couldn't breathe and calling out "Mama, mama!" before he was hog-tied to restrain him. Neville died at a local hospital of a brain injury on Dec. 4, 2019. (Forsyth County Jail via AP (Source: AP)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - A North Carolina sheriff’s office has changed its restraint policy in the wake of last year’s death of a man jailed on an assault charge, but the restraint wasn’t banned.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office changed the policy on the hog-tie-style restraint that was used on John Neville in December in the county jail.

According to the policy changes, people who are resisting and have to be placed in a prone restraint position have to be placed in a sitting position as soon as possible. Officers also are required under the policy to monitor “the person’s color, breathing and level of consciousness.”

Video released on Wednesday showed Neville was on his stomach in a cell, where he was handcuffed with his arms behind his back and his legs up toward his buttocks.

He died at a Winston-Salem hospital.

Calls for justice in Black suspect’s death in North Carolina

Demonstrators held a vigil in North Carolina to call for justice in the case of a Black man who died days after his arrest.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports more than 70 participants used their phones as flashlights and sang songs during the vigil for John Neville in Winston-Salem Wednesday night.

The vigil came hours after jail videos were released that showed Neville struggling with guards and yelling he couldn’t breathe as they restrained him in December.

Neville’s son also spoke at the vigil.

His father died at a hospital of a brain injury on Dec. 4, three days after his arrest on a warrant accusing him of assaulting a woman.

Details about Neville’s death didn’t become public until June 2020.

Days after news of his death broke, the district attorney charged six jail workers with manslaughter, based almost entirely on what video from inside the jail showed.

A judge ordered the release of the videos at the request of nearly a dozen media outlets, including WBTV – which was opposed by the district attorney and defense lawyers.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. WBTV contributed to this report.