Media Files Lawsuit For Records In John Neville's Death

Media Files Lawsuit For Records In John Neville's Death

5:38pm May 03, 2021
Protesters used chalk to express their feelings as part of a July protest over John Neville's death and the secrecy surrounding the case. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

A coalition of media groups has filed a lawsuit seeking records in connection with the death of a Black man who died after being restrained in the Forsyth County Detention Center.

John Neville, 56, died in December 2019, and the case didn’t become public for months. When it did, it led to protests in the streets and six detention center workers charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Some records have already been released including a jailhouse video that showed Neville telling guards that he couldn’t breathe, and crying out for his mother. 

Now the media coalition that includes The News & Observer of Raleigh has filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services seeking documents and additional videos. 

Mike Tadych is an attorney representing the coalition. He says the records may shed light on what led investigators to file charges in connection with Neville’s death.

“It is difficult for the public to hold their public officials accountable unless they can see what’s going on," he says. "And this is just our ongoing process of fighting for transparency and openness.”

The Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office has opposed release of the records.

The defendants in the case are next scheduled to appear in court in June.

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