Local ministers group responds to release of body camera footage

Local ministers group responds to release of body camera footage
April 21
00:00 2016
Bishop Todd Fulton



Earlier this week, The Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV) held a press conference to respond to the release of body camera footage of the incident that led to Travis Page dying while in the custody of four officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department.

According to a police report, on Dec. 9 Corporal Robert Fenimore, Officer Christopher Doub, Officer Austin Conrad and Officer Jacob Tuttle responded to a reported discharge of firearm on Old Rural Hall Road. Upon arrival officers attempted to detain 31-year-old 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. At that time, Page became unresponsive. Officers performed lifesaving efforts, but were unsuccessful.

For months, MCWSV and a number of other community organizations urged District Attorney Jim O’Neil to release body camera footage obtained from the officers present during Page’s death. During the press conference held at Emmanuel Baptist Church, MCWSV president Bishop Todd Fulton said, after viewing the videotapes that were released last month, the Minsters’ Conference feels that the officers involved followed professional standards.

“We are proud to say that this is not Ferguson,” said Fulton. “This is not like so many trends that we have seen transpire across America.”

Fulton also mentioned the Forsyth County District Attorney’s office released the footage in a timely manner. He noted that we have seen some cases where it takes more than a year for footage to be released.

According to representatives from the district attorney’s office, footage could not be made public until an internal investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation was complete.

“We were pushing for solidarity in our community. The only way we are going to get that is through transparency,” Fulton continued. “We are working to build a stronger community.”

City Council member and public safety chairman James Taylor said, although the loss of life is always a tragic event, following the death of Page, everyone involved did their job. As he stood at the podium on Tuesday afternoon, Taylor said, “Although the community has had issues with the police department and district attorney’s office in the past, moving toward the future we have nothing to worry about.

“I think we have the some of the best citizens, officers, elected officials and community in this entire country,” he said. “When it comes to protecting this community, I don’t think we have anything to worry about.”

Mayor Allen Joines said he has every confidence in Chief Barry Rountree and the training that officers receive. Joines also said he was grateful for the body cameras that were worn by officers during the incident.

“Thank goodness that we had body cameras. I think that was a great investment made by the City of Winston-Salem.”

Although satisfied with the handling of the Travis Page footage, Fulton said the Ministers’ Conference still has a number of issues and concerns with state legislation policies in regard to releasing body camera footage.

Under House Bill 713, discretion to release recordings would be decided by law enforcement agencies. The bill would restrict all public access by treating police body camera footage as pieces of evidence in criminal investigations.

“We definitely have concerns with that bill,” he said. “That is one of our major concerns right now, making sure that bill is not passed and transparency remains.”

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors