Family of Sylvester Demetrius Selby says ‘we need accountability’ over his death

By on November 22, 2023

Sylvester Demetrius Selby (wtkr)

The family of Sylvester Demetrius Selby, who was shot and killed by a Dare County Sheriff’s Deputy in Manteo on Oct. 2, is launching a lawn sign campaign to raise awareness about the case, which it believes was an unjust killing during a mental health episode.

“We want to get the word out that this has happened here and that we need accountability,” said Shena Twitty, Selby’s sister.

The initial information on the case came in a release from the Dare County Sheriff’s Office stating that Selby, 44, was fatally shot by a deputy in Manteo on the night of Oct. 2 after he came at law enforcement personnel with a knife. The sheriff’s department placed the deputy on administrative leave. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is currently handling the investigation, and once it is completed, it will submit its case file to the office of District Attorney Jeff Cruden.

Since the sheriff’s release, the Virginian-Pilot has identified the deputy in question as Edward Glaser III, although the sheriff’s office has not released his name. On Oct. 16, the 911 call was released with redactions by the sheriff’s office. In the transcript, the caller repeatedly requests an ambulance for Selby, stating that he might need to “take his medicine.” Selby’s family confirmed he suffered from diabetes and a thyroid disorder and was struggling with mental health issues from the loss of his daughter, sister, niece, and grandmother.

Anjanette Grube, Public Information Officer for the SBI confirmed to the Voice that the shooting case “remains an ongoing investigation.”

As of the deadline for this story, the Dare County Sheriff’s Office had not responded to a Voice inquiry seeking comment on the family’s allegation that the deputy should be prosecuted.

With the investigation ongoing, Selby’s family has been able to view the body cam footage privately, and according to Twitty, it believes there is enough evidence in that footage to merit charges against the deputy.

“We’ve seen the police footage, the body cam footage, and from what they see on it, there’s enough there that whenever the SBI is done with their investigation, we can bring the charges for the officer, so we’re just waiting for everything to kind of get there,” said Twitty, adding that the family doesn’t want to wait too long.

“So, the [lawn] signs are meant to apply a little pressure, you know, something needs to happen quickly,” Twitty stated.

The family is working with a local marketing company and hope to have the signs available sometime between mid-December and early January. The signs will say “Justice for Demetrius Selby” and will include a QR code that will lead the public to a Go Fund Me for the family’s legal fees. Twitty added that updates will be provided on the Dare Minority Coalition’s Facebook page for the public to find out when and how to purchase yard signs.

Selby’s family has hired attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, who represented the family of Andrew Brown Jr. after he was fatally shot in Elizabeth City in 2021 by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Deputies in a case that generated national attention. Brown’s family filed a lawsuit and ultimately received a $3 million settlement.


  • Tyrrell Johnson

    Certain types lives don’t matter to other certain types, already been through this. Nothing changes.

    Wednesday, Nov 22 @ 5:19 pm
  • David Smith

    I am as liberal as they come and far from justifying all police violence. Having said that the report says the deceased came at the officer with a knife. If true the officer had reasonable fear for his life.

    Thursday, Nov 23 @ 8:27 pm
  • Dan-O

    Yes, sir, Mr. Johnson. We see it every morning in the news: Tidewater, Chicago, Philly, Baltimore, Cleveland, LA, New York…on and on. Certain lives seem not to matter.

    Friday, Nov 24 @ 7:37 am
  • james

    I am also as liberal as they come and if a police officer gives you a command it is exactly that a command. You are to do exactly as the officer says and you do so immediately without so much as a word of complaint. Time and time again you clearly see people resisting and not following the officers command and in some cases as result they don’t live to tale the tale. Put yourself in the officers shoes. He wants to come home to his family each day just as you do and a police officer has no idea what type of lunatic he is dealing with on a daily basis. It is unfair to the police officer not to follow commands. If you have any problem with the way an officer treats you, take it up with the Judge. It is that simple.

    Friday, Nov 24 @ 10:00 am
  • Lost In Translation

    Though a terrible situation for both families, pulling a race card is no longer a valid argument – we are all above this kind of slander – but none of us are above the law. Police have every right to use force in these situations. This should not have even got the time of day as its not worth the paper its written on. Race baiting as since long been extinguished. The headlines should always read, a police officer needed to use deadly force against a victim who was suffering from mental illness. It should NEVER state that a black/white officer shot a black/white person. Everyone is equal in justice.

    Friday, Nov 24 @ 1:08 pm
  • Local

    Accountability? For what? He charged at the officers with a knife. It seems like the family is looking for a pay day. Perhaps they should teach their children to make better choices in life. There are ways to avoid getting shot by the police just like there are ways to avoid getting shot in a drive-by shooting.

    Friday, Nov 24 @ 7:42 pm
  • WindyBill

    The Deputy’s bodycam footage exists at this time. That is very real evidence. That is the Only place where Real evidence exists. Judgement should be withheld until this is seen by anyone interested. Was the Deputy advised of a mental health crisis? Was he trained for that? Let’s know all the facts, then deal wih it.

    Saturday, Nov 25 @ 3:11 pm
  • Krispy

    I will put up a sign in my yard. Give me a link to donate and or buy. I live in Currituck near a major tourist destination in the county. People have to pass my house to get in or out. #justiceforselby

    Sunday, Nov 26 @ 6:50 am
  • Frank

    Instead of speculation and Monday morning quarterbacking, let’s see the video footage when it’s released. That will tell the story. Those of you trying to play the race card, shame on you. That’s usually a tell-tale giveaway sign of someone looking for compensation, not justice. Don’t forget to beware of race hustlers and race pimps, too, no matter their skin color.
    I have an honest question to ask of the justice for Selby folks…if people are donating money to your cause, and it comes out via the video and audio recordings that this unfortunate individual who died was actually at fault, will you give the money back to the donors, or keep it? That’s an important question they should answer.

    Tuesday, Nov 28 @ 2:09 am
  • Larry

    Come on Frank , do honestly think the money would ever be returned ? If they were interested in justice , they would have helped him long ago.

    Tuesday, Nov 28 @ 10:50 am
  • mikem

    This happens all the time, unfortunetly Mr Selby needed medical attention. Police are not Doctors, they see somone with a knife acting strangely and does not respond to droping the knife, or acts threateing the life of the police.. tragedy ensues.

    Wednesday, Nov 29 @ 11:33 am
  • Stuck in traffic

    Cop job: serve and protect
    He failed
    I was a cop a lot of years ago for a lot of years. I always laugh when I hear
    They have the right to go home to their family. Yeah so does the person who you are dealing with.
    And come on more people die in car wrecks. If you’re so worried about going home, do you hide at the station?
    Maybe you should be a Game Warden for awhile. Everyone he/she deals with is armed. Pretty sure that have learn how to overcome that fear quickly.
    Was this cop in the military? Cause they operate differently also.

    Give me signs I will put them everywhere. I’m tired of the same people that are supposed to be helping us are killing us!

    Doesn’t matter what color you are, you shouldn’t have to die for needing help.
    That Brown shooting in E-city was murder also!

    Wednesday, Nov 29 @ 9:24 pm
  • Just Asking....

    This is truly a sad story for all involved and I totally agree that if an individual charges at a police officer with a knife, then the shooting is justified, but if it’s true that the individual was shot several times after falling to the ground, then how is that justified? And if it was a clearly justifiable shooting, why is it taking so long for the DCSO to come out make that statement? Just asking….

    Wednesday, Nov 29 @ 10:52 pm
  • Larry

    Stuck in traffic, serve and protect is exactly what he did. He obviously protected the
    community where the family failed to do so. Secondly if a Game warden is threated with a weapon they will most certainly do the exact same as this officer. Maybe you were never confronted with a weapon by a suspect who refused to obey commands , or you were lucky
    enough to ever come across that in your service as a security guard. Unfortunatly his family failed him more than anyone else and yes his color had nothing to do with it, his actions did.

    Monday, Dec 4 @ 11:16 am