State Agency Investigates Death Of Man While In Winston-Salem Police Custody
Four Winston-Salem police officers are on administrative leave after an armed man died in custody Wednesday night.
The Winston-Salem police asked for the State Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation of the death of Travis Nevelle Page, 31. The request is a normal procedure when someone dies in police custody
Shannon O’Toole is an assistant special agent in charge with the SBI. He says the agency’s review will be part of a broader examination of what happened Wednesday night when Travis Nevelle Jenkins died.
“You have our independent investigation. You could have the investigation going which are the circumstances of why law enforcement personnel was there to begin with, and then you could have a third internal affairs investigation as well,” he says.
O'Toole says the investigation will include interviewing the officers, talking to witnesses from the neighborhood, reviewing the 911 calls and any video that might have been taken from the scene, including police body- and dash-cams.
"The individual who is either injured or deceased - that person is essentially classified as our victim," he says. "The officers are our subjects, and we work the process just like we would any other death investigation."
He says the autopsy will also be key to the investigation, and those results could take a few months.
Once the SBI investigation is completed, it will be turned over to the district attorney, who will decide if charges against the officers are warranted.
Police say the case began when officers went to an area on Old Rural Hall Road near Smith Reynolds Airport after getting a call that someone had fired a gun.
Page matched the description given by a witness, and as police tried to detain him, one of the officers fired a blast of pepper spray. Later, Page became unresponsive after officers placed him in handcuffs.
EMS workers took Page to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Police say they found a handgun on Page before he was transported to the hospital. According to state records, Page was on probation after being convicted earlier this year of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The policemen on leave are Corporal Robert Fenimore and officers Christopher Doub, Austin Conrad and Jacob Tuttle.