In a case that is tragically similar to John Neville’s, a judge has ordered the release of police video of 50 incidents in which people were restrained in the manner used on both Neville and another Greensboro man who died after being taken into custody, Marcus Smith.
Smith died in September 2018 after being restrained in much the same way as Neville: with his hands bound to his feet behind him.
Smith’s mother and his estate are suing the city of Greensboro, eight police officers and two Guilford County paramedics for wrongful death.
Police used what is called a RIPP Hobble device to subdue Smith, who had become agitated during a mental health crisis on a downtown street.
Both the use of the RIPP Hobble device and binding a person’s hands to his feet have since been banned by the Greensboro Police Department.
Lawyers for Smith’s family contend, however, that there was a pattern among Greensboro police of using the same technique on others before Smith’s death.
Because of the state’s overly restrictive police video law, access to such footage typically must be granted by a Superior Court judge.
But in this instance, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe L. Webster ruled, the videos in question will be released only to the family’s lawyers, not to the general public.