WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office held a press conference Monday afternoon following an incident that was caught on camera, and started circulating on social media.
The incident happened at Cooks Flea Market in Winston-Salem and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office looked into what some considered excessive force during an arrest by one of their deputies.
According to the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, a deputy was working an extra duty assignment at Cooks Flea Market, as the market regularly employs deputies for security.
Flea market staff asked a man seen in the video to leave the premises because he wouldn't wear a mask, and never stated he was exempt from wearing one.
"He was offered a free mask, and he refused to wear it," Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said.
The flea market asked the deputy to escort the man, who has been identified as 27-year-old Charles Mody Jr., to his car. However, Moody declined to leave.
"The video shows the officer asking not once, not twice, not three, not four, but five times to please leave," Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said.
At that point, the sheriff's office said the arrest had nothing to do with masks, it was a legal issue of trespassing.
Moody was charged with Trespassing and Resisting a Public Officer.
Sheriff Kimbrough said the one-minute cell phone video is only a snippet, and does not tell the full story.
"What you didn't see was the racial slurs he hurled," the sheriff explained. "What you didn't see was the vulgarity, that he said to not only the officer but also the people around."
The sheriff said he's offended and hurt that community members rushed to judgement. He said it is so important that we take the time to listen, review, and have conversations in these 'volatile, stressed, strange times.'
"The Facebook warriors and everyone out there trying to divide us, we're bigger than that we have to stand together strong," he continued adamantly. "If my guys are wrong, I'll be the first one to check them because before I was the sheriff, before I was an agent - I was a black man."
The sheriff said state law makes it very difficult to release body cam footage, so instead, he had community leaders come in to review the full video and give their opinions.
"We are satisfied after watching the entire video that there was no wrong-doing on behalf of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office in the incident," one leader from the Winston-Salem NAACP said.
Sheriff Kimbrough said he's had many sleepless, tearful nights lately.
"That is why I get upset, we're bigger than this as a community and my plea and my cry is that if there's an issue my door swing is on open hinges."
Kimbrough said he spoke on the phone with Moody, who told the sheriff he hired a lawyer. He said he welcomes him into the department any time to have an in-person conversation.
Previous statement from the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office on Sunday:
"Our role in it was the same as it is every time we work there - to provide security to the flea market, including when the business management requests someone to leave, to ensure they vacate the premises without undue delay," a spokesperson from the sheriff's office said.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said supervision will now review the incident in its entirety to ensure the deputy acted appropriately given the scope of the situation.
"We appreciate our community’s commitment to accountability and continued concern for one another," the statement from the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said in closing.
Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough Jr. also posted on the situation via his Facebook page.
"We are aware that there is video of a portion of an incident at Cook's Flea Market circulating on social media. I have spoken with both the individual in the video and his family, as well as the deputy involved. Together we will come to a resolution. We are reviewing all video of the incident in its entirety. We remain committed to doing what is moral, what is legal, and what is right without any consideration for an individual's race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion. We are committed to protecting and serving our community, with integrity and transparency because this is OUR community."
~Bobby F. Kimbrough, Jr.~
STATEMENT FROM COOKS FLEA MARKET
"On Saturday, June 27th, an individual at the flea market was asked repeatedly to comply with the statewide order making mask-wearing mandatory in public. After verbally refusing to put on a mask, the individual was asked by management multiple times to leave the property. When the individual declined to leave, a deputy sheriff providing security at the market was called to escort the individual to their vehicle and was subsequently charged with Trespassing and Resisting a Public Officer. Sheriff Kimbrough of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has spoken with both the individual and his family, as well as the deputy involved. The incident is currently under review to ensure the deputy acted appropriately given the scope of the situation."
WFMY is working to get the full video of the incident. Stay with us as more details develop.