Community wants answers in death of man killed in custody of WSPD

Community wants answers in death of man killed in custody of WSPD
December 17
00:00 2015
Above: Travis Page

For The Chronicle 

It has been a week since 31-year-old Travis Page died in the custody of four police officers and citizens are growing impatient waiting for video footage of the incident to made public.

The Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV) held a press conference to urge elected officials to recommend that the District Attorney’s Office  and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) release body camera footage obtained from the officers present during the incident.

According to a police report, Corporal Robert Fenimore, Officer Christopher Doub, Officer Austin Conrad and Officer Jacob Tuttle responded to a reported discharge of firearm at 4404 Old Rural Hall Road. Upon arrival, officers attempted to detain Page, who matched the description of the reported gunman. After a brief struggle with Page, one of the officers used pepper spray in order to gain control and place him in handcuffs. At that time, Page became unresponsive.

The officers performed lifesaving efforts but were unsuccessful. Page was pronounced dead at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

WSPD has confirmed three of the four officers involved were wearing body cameras during the time of the incident.

During a recent town hall meeting held at Shiloh Baptist Church, a number of citizens said while although they continue to hear talks about transparency and being open, it seems they are being left in the dark.

“When they have video footage of what happened and they don’t make it public, it seems like they are hiding something,” said Chris Hunter.  “We have seen this same situation play out too many times across America, and we deserve to know what happened that night.”

A number of citizens took to social media to voice their frustrations as well. Many referenced video footage of Laquan McDonald in Chicago that took over a year to be released.

“They can release the video if they wanted to,” Linda Ingram wrote. “The people of this city should not have to wait a entire year before we know what really happened, we are not going to stand for it.”

Chairman of the Public Safety Committee James Taylor said he and other city officials take the situation very seriously. He also encouraged citizens to remain calm as the justice systems takes it course.

Taylor mentioned he has not seen the video but has urged the NCSBI to complete their investigation as quickly as possible.

“We must let the investigation take its course. I urge the citizens of Winston-Salem to not jump to conclusions,” he said. “I’ve met with the administration of the police department, the mayor, as well as other members of the city council and we take this issue very seriously.”

Council Member Derwin Montgomery encouraged citizens to contact the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office and request the video be made public.

Although the case is currently under investigation, the release of the video is under the control of District Attorney Jim O’Neill.

A number of residents reminded those who attended the town hall meeting that there are a number of local and national  organizations who can help persuade the district attorney’s office to make the video footage public.

“I am thankful for everything council members Montgomery and Taylor are trying to do, but there are numerous groups that we all know about that can help us with this issue.” Vincent Wilkes said.

“I’m not disregarding city council members or police officers. All I’m saying is, we can look inside my community filled with strong men and women, and we can do the same thing.”


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