FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — A day before a judge is set to make a ruling on the request to release video in John Neville's death, Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said he'll support the family no matter what, just as he has from the beginning.
"The wishes of the family have been upheld and even as recently as yesterday when they asked that the video be released. My stance is with them from the beginning and my stance was with them yesterday," Kimbrough said.
Officials said Neville, 57, of Greensboro, died on Dec. 4, 2019, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, four days after he was arrested and taken to the Forsyth County Jail.
Five former Forsyth County Sheriff's Office detention officers and a nurse were charged earlier in July with involuntary manslaughter in John Neville's death.
Since then, several protests have taken place in downtown Winston-Salem demanding the video be released and criticizing law enforcement for the handling of the situation.
Kimbrough acknowledged that criticism saying he stands by his action of balancing his support for the family, and duty as a sheriff since the beginning.
"When people March and say, 'Say his name' and they want to criticize me for what I did, you know him as John Neville. You know him as a story," said Kimbrough, "They know him and still know him. They’ll feel this long after the protesting is gone. Long after the marching is gone. They’ll still remember their father John Neville so their request to me is paramount."
The Winston-Salem Black Lives Matter chapter issued an apology to John Neville's family on Facebook.
"Black Lives Matter Winston-Salem #blackandbrownlivesmatter publicly apologizes for not following the initial wishes of John Neville's family to keep the Forsyth County jail and bodycam footage of jail officers relevant to the death of John Neville a private matter," the statement said.
Triad Abolition Project, another organization, also issued a statement.
"From the beginning of our efforts demanding justice for Mr. Neville, we have respected the family’s wishes to not have the video of the circumstances leading to their father’s death be made public," the group said.
The organization said they will continue to support the family.
"Now that the family has decided to support efforts to release the video, we support their agency in making that difficult decision," Triad Abolition Project said.
"Whatever is decided – we will honor the judge’s ruling in this matter," said Kimbrough in a news release Wednesday.
Kimbrough said he supported the family's wishes when they didn't want the video released, and he will support the desire for it to be released now.
"If I stand with you from the beginning, I’ll ride my decision until the end and I made the decision to honor their request so I’ve got to honor it now," he said.