Chief Barry Rountree speaks to media for first time after man dies in his officers’ custody

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- “Once that’s done, I’ll be glad for the public to see it,” were the words from Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree on Tuesday, as he addressed the media for the first time since 31-year-old Travis Page died in the custody of four of his officers last week.

Rountree was referring to the videos captured from the cameras three of the four officers involved in detaining Page were wearing at the time.

“You’re not [going to] have a 360 degrees view, but you do have the view from each individual officer,” Rountree said.

Rountree detailed the happenings of the night when Page and the officers interacted, adding that there were two separate 911 calls which came in to his department, both of them saying that a man matching Page’s description was firing a weapon near Old Rural Hall Road in Winston-Salem.

Rountree said that there was a foot pursuit before a struggle, which ended in Page being pepper sprayed and handcuffed.

Rountree added that’s when Page became unresponsive and his officers tried to revive him.

“Officers began life-saving efforts, which included CPR, sternum rubs, officers also administered [Naloxone], which is a version of [an] opiate re-encountering,” Rountree said.

Naloxone, commonly referred to as NARCAN, is used to revive people who have suffered an opiate-related overdose. However, Rountree would not say if Page had any drugs in his system at the time he was detained.

Rountree also addressed the reaction some people in the community have had to Page’s death.

“I know there’s a lot of conspiracy theories that are floating around in the community about evidence, about body-worn camera footage and other things. But I can assure the public that all evidence, be it physical or digital, has been preserved,” Rountree said.

“We respect the rights of all individuals to exercise their right to protest. So, I’m grateful that we have people in the community that want to protest and look into this incident, and make sure that everything is done well,” he added.

Rountree also said he hopes the same spirit and eagerness carries forward for other negative things which happen within the city and our society.

Rountree said he has met with Page’s mother, Ida, to explain the investigative process. He then says he met with District Attorney Jim O’Neill to discuss the case and investigative process.

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