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City Council

Posted on: August 6, 2020

Mayor Pro Tempore Adams Issues Statement on John Neville

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NEWS RELEASE
Mayor Pro Tempore
Aug. 6, 2020

Mayor Pro Tempore and North Ward Council Member Denise D. Adams released the following statement regarding John Neville’s death:

“John Neville’s life mattered. John Neville should be alive. He should have celebrated Christmas and ushered in the New Year. He should have seen the spring and complained along with the rest of us about this hot summer. Instead, John Neville pleaded for his life in vain. 

“On Dec. 2, 2019, five correction officers in the Forsyth County Detention Center responded when Neville fell out of bed due to an apparent seizure. Instead of being treated with compassion and immediate medical care, he was treated like a dangerous animal. Before dying Neville told the officers 29 times that he could not breathe. Twenty-nine times. 

“Like you, I am exhausted by this madness. Like you, I am angry about this abuse of power. Like you, I am sickened by this suffering. Like you, I sometimes feel helpless in the face of so many incidents of Black death. We can never allow ourselves to stop feeling horror and grief when confronted with the agony and needless deaths of Black people. We can never cease demanding and creating change. 

“Representing the people of Winston-Salem is the greatest privilege of my working life. I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to serve this city I love. I promise not to turn away from these painful realities in our city. I pledge to listen carefully to you, the community, as you bring forth your experiences and your suggestions for change. I promise to keep shining a light on what is unjust and working daily for what is right. 

“We must find meaningful, swift, and lasting solutions to protect Black lives and to end state violence. We cannot change biased or hateful attitudes with the stroke of a pen, but we can change policy, rules, and consequences. We can and we must. We must implement real and lasting reforms to the system of detention and incarceration. We must not allow people and companies to make money by providing ‘training’ that does not stem violence or change behavior. We will not rest because there are cameras recording deaths, but not stopping them. We will accept nothing less than transparency, accountability, real change, and justice.”

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