The family of John Neville is demanding justice after a grand jury decided not to indict the five deputies charged in his death. He was killed while in custody at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office in North Carolina, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.
Neville was killed on Dec. 4, 2019 after deputies put him in jail on his stomach with his arms behind his back and his legs raised to his wrists; he told officers he could not breathe more than 30 times. This controversial prone position is known to cause breathing problems and death in the past, according to the News and Observer.
From the News and Observer:
A medical examiner’s report confirmed Neville being restrained in prone position caused positional and compressional asphyxiation that led to a heart attack and brain injury.
Sean Neville called it “disheartening that the videos of our father gasping for air and begging for mercy while he was bound and suffocated do not seem to have gained any purchase with Forsyth County or Wellpath Care.”
Last July, Neville’s estate attorney, Mike Grace, expressed frustration that the case had all but stalled. He said then that the family deserved more.
There is also video footage that shows the deputies responding to Neville’s jail cell. County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough did not tell the public about the death after the News and Observer asked a judge to release the body camera footage. The judge eventually granted the release of the video, according to the News and Observer.
It is believed that Neville fell out of his bunk while having a seizure and his cellmate urged deputies to help. Neville was incoherent and combative with the deputies all the while gaining consciousness.
The video may be inappropriate and disturbing for some viewers.
More from News and Observer:
Eventually, deputies placed Neville in prone position and left him that way for more than 11 minutes even as he begged for his life.
“You’re breathing, because you’re talking and you’re yelling and you’re moving,” a deputy tells him, as he struggles. “You need to stop. You need to relax. Quit resisting us. The quicker you relax the quicker we will be out of here, man.”
As Neville pleads with officers to help him they try to remove his handcuffs but end up breaking a key and a pair of bolt cutters before finally removing the handcuffs.
In the video, Heughins is seen checking on Neville before leaving the jail cell and looking at him through the window of the cell. She tells deputies she’s not sure that he’s breathing. They go back in to see.
Neville eventually became comatose and died two days later at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, according to the News and Observer.
John Neville’s son, Sean Neville said, “As our family continues to watch our father’s violent death replayed before a national audience, we remain hopeful that some court will acknowledge the wrongdoing that led to this atrocity.”