15 protesters arrested, accused of impeding traffic on North Church Street in Winston-Salem

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Winston-Salem police file photo (WGHP)

Winston-Salem police file photo (WGHP)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Police arrested 15 protesters after they allegedly impeded traffic on North Church Street in Winston-Salem, according to police.

Before the protest began at about 9 p.m. Thursday, Liutenant Hart told protesters to stay on the sidewalk and not block the streets.

Protesters offered speeches in front of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office and marched around the building on the sidewalk.

At about 11 p.m., police say protesters lined up on the sidewalk and began walking in small groups into the road.

Officers say there was a safety concern as it was dark and the road was still open to traffic.

Police told each group of protesters that they were violating the law by impeding traffic and to go back on the sidewalk.

Several protesters reportedly refused, and 15 were arrested. Their ages ranged from 22 to 60 years old.

After 15 protesters were arrested, the remaining protesters reportedly left the area on the sidewalk.

No protesters or officers were injured, according to Winston-Salem police.

This protest comes after four protesters were taken into custody during a protest in Winston-Salem on Wednesday evening over John Neville’s death while in law enforcement custody.

Five former detention officers and a nurse face charges in Neville’s death, according to the Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill.

All six are charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Neville died in custody back in December due to prolonged restraint and the inability to breathe. Neville reportedly had asthma.

So far, the five former detention officers have been arrested, all on $15,000 bonds:

  • Sarah Elizabeth Poole, 37
  • Edward Joseph Roussel, 30
  • Christopher Bryan Stamper, 42
  • Lovette Maria Williams, 47
  • Antonio Maurice Woodley, 26

The nurse, identified as Michelle Heughins, has not yet been arrested.

Neville reportedly suffered an unknown medical problem that caused him to fall from the top bunk of his cell onto the concrete floor.

Detention officers and the on-call nurse checked on him and found him disoriented. They decided to move him to a holding cell.

Neville died about 45 minutes later.

The autopsy showed that he died from complications from an ischemic brain injury due to cardiac arrest because of restraints.

Detention officers did reportedly try to get his handcuffs off. It is unclear why they could not.

O’Neill said he spoke with both of Neville’s adult children and told them that their father’s death was avoidable.

The district attorney says he supports the right for people to protest peacefully but will not allow people to break the law.

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough says one of the officers said to tell Neville’s children that they meant their father no harm, that they were trying to help and that they’re sorry mistakes were made.

Kimbrough says he takes responsibility.

The Neville family’s attorney said the family is still grieving.

The family asked for the video not to be shared until family had a chance to see it. The family has since seen the video. The district attorney says the video will not be released until the case goes to court.

Neville’s family said they are satisfied with the process and ask no violence to be committed in John Neville’s name that would not honor his life.

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