Members of the Ministers' Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity say they remain troubled by how a Black 10th-grader was taken into custody by a white police officer earlier this month. 

The confrontation was captured on cell-phone video by a neighbor and shared widely on social media. 

Dr. Keith Vereen of the Minister's Conference described the officer's action as aggressive and unwarranted.

“This has been a season and a summer of discontent concerning racial injustice,” he says. “Ministers' Conference stands on this day to say that we will not tolerate further our citizens being brutalized in this manner — especially juveniles.”

The comments came a day after Police Chief Catrina Thompson urged patience as an internal investigation continues. She identified the officer as Zacharie Jones.

The girl's father, Earnest Sides Jr., got emotional talking about what happened to his daughter.

“The fight is not for Black and white, the fight is for humanity,” he says. “The fight is for love, peace — and just to give my baby the right to grow up in the United States of America that you said that we were free in.” 

Sides says he has not yet seen the police body-cam video of the incident but is working with an attorney to do so.

The incident occurred earlier this month on Hartford Street in the Old Town community. It's in the city's North Ward, which is represented on the city council by D.D. Adams.

Councilwoman Adams attended the press conference and pledged her support to the Sides family.

“This is unacceptable,” she says. “And as a Black woman and as a Black person, I'm tired y'all...This is racism.”


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