A bystander’s video of the forcible arrest of Charles Moody, a young, Black man, at Cook’s Flea Market in Winston-Salem, went viral on social media on June 27.
Today, Moody appeared with his lawyer for a press conference in front of the Forsyth County Public Safety Center to dispute Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough’s account of the arrest, which was made by an off-duty white deputy and a civilian employee of the flea market.
“The issue is on the heels of what we have been doing — the protesting for the last five to six weeks, what we should have been protesting for the last 30, 40, 50, 100, 200 years — is the carte blanche authority that police officers have to resort to physical violence early in encounters with Black males, to end every police encounter with physical dominance of Black males. And that’s just simply not acceptable in this day and age.”
Kimbrough held his own press conference two days ago. Flanked by four Black community leaders, Kimbrough, an African-American Democrat, defended the deputy’s actions, saying the deputy did not use excessive force. Kimbrough shared a written account of what led up to the arrest that appeared to have been written by the flea market management. The account indicated someone approached Moody to tell him there were facemasks available and Moody laughed, suggesting “he didn’t want to wear the mask.” Kimbrough went on to say, “He was offered a free face mask and refused to wear the mask,” and that the representative of the flea market explained to Moody that if he refused to wear a mask, he would be required to leave the premises.
The video shared on Facebook on June 27, which is just over a minute long, shows the deputy with his left palm behind Moody’s neck and his right hand on his arm jerk Moody around and Moody struggle to free himself as a man in a red shirt runs up from behind to assist the officer.
Kimbrough said watched the police body-camera video with District Attorney Jim O’Neill and the Black community leaders.
“We’re satisfied that the officer did everything that he could to avoid an altercation with the subject,” said the Rev. Alvin Carlisle, who is the president of the Winston-Salem NAACP. “We’re satisfied that the subject was given many opportunities to comply with the laws and standards that we all have to deal with during this COVID-19 crisis. So, having done that, we appreciate our partnership with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, with Sheriff Kimbrough.”
During the press conference today, Quander disparaged the Black leaders — also including Winston-Salem Urban League President James Perry, Bishop Todd Fulton and community activist Al Jabbar — as a “committee of violent police ratification.”
Dressed in a turquoise polo shirt and speaking haltingly, Charles Moody, who goes by the name CJ, said today that he wanted to set the record straight.
“At no point was I ever offered a free mask — that is untrue — I was never offered a free mask,” Moody said. “Neither did I ever turn down a free facemask. I would have been more than happy to have a facemask, which I made clear. At no point was there ever a verbal or a physical confrontation or an argument or a refusal from me to do anything with anybody until that officer approached and grabbed me, which was two seconds before that video started.
“Never was I asked to leave by an employee at Cook’s Flea Market or by anybody else at Cook’s Flea Market before that officer had approached me,” Moody continued.
Quander said his immediate concern is to ensure that his client receives justice in regards to two pending criminal charges — resisting a public officer, and second-degree trespass — and he and his client have not decided whether to pursue a civil lawsuit against the sheriff’s office.
“At this point the issue is, number one, making sure that CJ is represented to the fullest in his criminal charges,” Quander said, “and, number two, bringing attention and starting the process of ending unnecessary violence by police officers towards unarmed and nonviolent Black men.”
Quander said numerous people, including some white people, have reached out to him with video of white people patronizing Cook’s Flea Market without wearing masks.
“We have had a number of people come forward with their own independent videos we have not looked at, but they are purported to show a number — dozens of non-Black people in Cook’s Flea Market that same exact day walking around without masks on,” Quander said.
In a press release issued yesterday, Quander said the restraint used by the deputy was not authorized by the sheriff’s office or part of the agency’s training.
“When you look at the video that’s out there on Facebook, you see the deputy — and one thing that jumps off the page at me is the left arm of the deputy — left hand — to the brim of CJ’s neck and back, and then at the same time pulling kind of with his right arm on his body, essentially pulling the majority of the deputy’s arm weight on the bridge at the bottom of the neck,” Quander said. “That’s not a trained mannerism by the sheriff’s deputy. And if it is, it certainly needs to stop immediately.
“But under the circumstances of what took place at that point, it’s our contention that CJ was not in a position of reacting to a lawful arrest; in fact, it was an unlawful arrest at that point,” Quander continued. “And so therefore any maneuver, any hold, or any attempt to use physical force, I would contend would be unlawful and not permitted under the circumstances.”
The sheriff’s office did not respond before publication of this story to an inquiry about the hold used by the deputy.