5 Guards and a Nurse Face Charges in Death of Inmate Who Pleaded, ‘I Can’t Breathe’

Mr. O’Neill said he would not release video of the episode “unless and until we reach a proper court of law.” He said that it was important for a jury or judge not to have “preconceived opinions” about the guilt or innocence of those charged.

The five former officers charged were Lavette Williams, 47; Edward Roussel, 50; Christopher Stamper, 42; Antonio Woodley, 26; and Sarah Poole, 36. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said it had fired all of them on Tuesday, with the exception of Mr. Stamper, who was fired on Wednesday. The nurse who was charged, Michelle Heughins, was employed by a private contractor, according to the sheriff’s office. Mr. Williams and Mr. Woodley are Black, the sheriff’s office said. The rest of the officers are white.

“Good men and women made bad decisions that day and, as a result, a good man died,” the Forsyth County sheriff, Bobby F. Kimbrough Jr., whose office runs the county jail, said at the news conference.

Mr. Kimbrough said that the five former officers had asked him to relay a message to Mr. Neville’s children, as he walked them into a magistrate’s office to be charged on Wednesday.

“They said, ‘Sheriff, tell them that we meant their father no harm — we were trying to assist and help,’” Mr. Kimbrough said. “We are sorry that the mistakes were made that day. I take responsibility for that, as the sheriff.”

It was not immediately clear if all of those charged had lawyers. David Freedman, a lawyer for Mr. Roussel, said the officers were released on $15,000 unsecured bonds. Mr. Freedman said his client had been in law enforcement for 30 years, had a clean record and was cooperating with the authorities.

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