A black man has died while being in custody, and an investigation into his suspicious death has begun, as 4 police officers involved in the incident have been placed on leave.
The detained man was named Travis Nevelle Page, and he was 31 years old when he passed away. He had been apprehended and taken into custody by law enforcement on Wednesday, December 9.
Apparently, at around 7:30 p.m., police had been informed that a person whose description corresponded to Page’s had fired several bullets with a handgun.
Officers Jacob Tuttle, Christopher Doub and Austin Conrad, alongside corporal Robert Fenimore were sent to 4404 Old Rural Hall Road, in order to prevent an already hazardous situation from escalating even further.
As Page was being urged to surrender, he allegedly resisted arrest, and was involved in a physical altercation with the police officers.
During the incident, pepper spray was employed by one of the law enforcement members, in an effort to contain the suspect and thwart his attempts at leaving the scene of the crime.
Eventually, as representatives of the Winston-Salem Police Department recount, the African-American man was placed under arrest, but as soon as the handcuffs were secured, he fell unconscious.
Police officers apparently retrieved a gun and an unidentified illegal substance among his belongings, and efforts were taken to save his life, as first responders administered CPR to him.
Once the ambulance from Forsyth County Emergency Medical Services arrived, he was immediately to hospital.
However, medical staffers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center had no choice but to declare the young man dead on arrival.
As a result of his mysterious death, an inquest has begun, in order to better understand the events that unfolded that night, and determine if there was any instance of abusive or arbitrary force by law enforcement officers.
The probe is led by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and although information is sparse now, as new details emerge it is expected that further statements will be issued.
Apparently, the incident was filmed by an eyewitness identified as Tameka McLean, who lived in the house in front of which the entire confrontation unfolded.
In the video footage, which was recently released, McLean can be seen being questioned by the policemen, and declaring that she doesn’t believe that the suspect committed any crime.
Although she was unfamiliar with his name, she had seen him before and hadn’t witnessed any violent behavior from his side.
Page’s family has stated the man no longer owned a gun, and had only been taking medicine for several ailments including high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
At the moment, the four officers who have been present during Page’s controversial arrest are on administrative leave.
This is actually a common measure taken following incidents of this kind, as the investigation proceeds and each party’s involvement is being determined.
It must be noted that one of the men placed on leave had been with the Winston-Salem Police Department for as long as 22 years, while the newest had joined the team approximately 1 year ago.
Given the fact that all four police officers who worked together in order to take the black man into custody are actually Caucasian, some believe this may be another case of racial bias shown by law enforcement when dealing with African-American suspects.
Highly publicized cases when people of color were fatally shot by white police officers, despite not having wielded a weapon, have become more common in recent years.
Image Source: Greensboro