Don’t Rush It

The death of Travis Nevelle Page in Winston-Salem last week was a tragedy that no family should have to endure. Our thoughts are with his family and friends as they continue to deal with the sorrow of his loss.

Page died, according to initial reports, after officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department responded to a call for service Dec. 9 and found Page, who matched the description of a person reported to have fired a weapon in the 2900 block of New Walkertown Road.

Page died in police custody following a brief foot chase about one mile from the scene of the incident. He had been pepper sprayed, police said, and quickly became unresponsive. His family indicated that Page had numerous health problems requiring medication. Police recovered almost three grams of cocaine and a handgun from Page.

Given the eggshell of race relations we’ve all been walking on in this country the last few years, it’s no surprise that many are braced for a community backlash even before most of the facts surrounding this man’s death are known. Community leaders from Maine to California are wondering when it will be their turn to deal with such unfortunate circumstances.

But we must pause and remember that often it is media that flames these passions. Systems of law enforcement and courts are not institutions that should be run on passion. Unlike the mayor of Greensboro, whose unfortunate comments in a recent article indicated that she felt race relations in America “are in free fall,” Winston-Salem leaders have been cautious in their response to the situation.

Police Chief Barry Rountree is a veteran of the WSPD with an exemplary record of service. We feel confident that under his leadership the department will react swiftly if officers deserve punishment. We also remain confident in the SBI to oversee the investigation and come to a just conclusion when all the facts are known. !

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