To NC Governor Roy Cooper:
We the undersigned demand that you veto SB168.
SB168 is a bill that would shield medical and law enforcement death-investigation records from the public. This bill was signed by NC House and Senate in the dead of night (6/26) almost unanimously and with little-to-no discussion. We believe SB168 not only obfuscates law enforcement involvement in the deaths of those they have in custody, but it also shields and protects law enforcement from being held accountable for deaths of civilians who are incarcerated, arrested, and detained.
SB168 was signed by NC House and Senate the night before the news of John Neville's death in Forsyth County Sheriff's custody, now seven months ago, and just as his autopsy and the SBI investigation are to conclude.
State records show that 2019 was a record year for jail deaths and suicides. The records show that over 40% of deaths involved supervision failures. Forsyth County Sheriff's Office submitted a death report of John Neville that is missing all information regarding supervision; it's missing the name of the jailer and reports of when John Neville was OK and when he was in distress; his cause of death is listed as "unknown." DHHS did not investigate the jail after John Neville's death. The Medical Examiner's report has not been produced. SB168, if not vetoed, would allow the Medical Examiner's report to remain shielded from the public.
Governor Cooper, you must veto this bill. The people of North Carolina demand and deserve full transparency from our law enforcement and public officials.
Triad Abolition Project of Winston-Salem, NC.