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Marketing & Communications

Posted on: March 25, 2021

City Releases Statement on John Mackey Arrest Videos; Posts Them Online

The city has posted online the body camera videos of officers involved with the arrest of John Mackey Jr., on March 2, 2020, at the Liberty Citgo gas station at 1522 N. Liberty St. The city posted the videos after Superior Court Judge Richard Gottlieb granted the city’s request and ordered the videos released to the public. The videos are posted at CityofWS.org/2896/John-Mackey.

The videos show the interaction with Officer Logan K. Frankland from when Frankland encountered Mackey through Mackey’s processing at the Forsyth County Detention Center after his arrest. Also released are body camera videos of four other officers who were involved at various points in the incident: Corporal Benjamin M. Harrison and Police Officers Caleb L. Gray, Matthew D. Rochelle and Deandre J. Armstrong.

After his arrest, Mackey filed a complaint, which was investigated by the Police Department’s Professional Standards Division. On Jan. 12 Police Chief Catrina Thompson sent Mackey a letter about the investigation of his complaint. “The investigation revealed that Officer Frankland did not operate within the guidelines of established departmental policies and procedures,” Thompson said, “consequently, appropriate action was taken.” 

Frankland, who joined the department in 2017, resigned last October. The Forsyth County District Attorney’s office dismissed Mackey’s charges in November. In February, Mackey accepted a $10,500 settlement from the city.

Following Gottlieb’s order, the city issued this statement: “After extensive reporting on the matter, the Winston-Salem Journal on February 22, 2021, filed a court petition for release of law enforcement agency recordings (body-worn camera videos) associated with the arrest of John Mackey Jr. on March 2, 2020.

“On review of the Journal's petition, the city of Winston-Salem determined that it did not contemplate release of the videos to the general public but only to the Journal itself, and that the petition did not include specific factors which, by law, are to be considered by the court in hearings on release of recordings. Accordingly, the city filed its own petition for release of the videos on March 5, 2021.  
“The city's petition was based on the following factors: release of the videos is necessary to advance a compelling public interest; that without a court order, the contents of the videos are confidential or exempt from disclosure under State law; and that there is good cause to release the videos.  

“The city's position was based on the fact that, before the Journal requested the officers' video footage, the newspaper covered the matter using a citizen cell phone video of only a portion of the incident, published a partial police report on the incident, and extensively quoted Mr. Mackey as to his version of the incident. Among Mr. Mackey's claims to the Journal were that Officer Frankland punched him ‘repeatedly’ in the head and held his arm on Mr. Mackey's throat for three minutes, that officers' charges would have resulted in him becoming a ‘habitual felon’ and facing 7-14 years in prison, that both Officer Frankland and Officer Gray used their TASERS® on Mr. Mackey and that Officer Frankland used a racial slur towards Mr. Mackey.  

“In fact, as video will show, there is no depiction of Officer Frankland ‘repeatedly’ punching Mr. Mackey in the head, Officer Frankland had his arm at Mr. Mackey's neck for approximately six seconds rather than three minutes, Mr. Mackey was charged with only misdemeanor offenses and not a felony, that only Officer Frankland used his TASER® on Mr. Mackey and that when Mr. Mackey spoke to a corporal and a sergeant about his arrest, he can only be heard alleging that Officer Frankland cursed him and did not allege the use of a racial slur.

“In a hearing on March 23, 2021, Superior Court Judge Richard Gottlieb granted both the Journal and the city's petition to release the video footage, with some, but very limited, audio silenced and footage of some persons' faces, computer screens and a cell phone screen blurred in order to protect the confidentiality of that information and the privacy of those persons and to comply with applicable law.” 


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