Last week, James Joiner wrote in a Daily Beast article that “Policing in this country really seems to be going to the dogs” after seeing a video that appeared to show Vineland “police allowing a K9 dog to tear into the face of what looks to be an unarmed black man while he is curled up on the ground.” The man who was mauled by the police dog was identified as 32-year-old Phillip White. White died while he was in police custody.
The police were responding to a report of a disorderly person, who was “screaming and yelling,” according to a local television station with access to the police radio transmissions of the incident. Multiple officers arrived on the scene and requested backup, yelling as they allege White reaches for one of their weapons. Moments later, one of them reports, “Slow units down. Subject under apprehension. Tried disarming me.”
According to a statement from Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae, “White was handcuffed and restrained… White was placed in an emergency vehicle to be transported to the hospital. At some point during transport White became unresponsive.”
Vineland police said that White, who died while in custody on the way to a hospital on March 31st after the K-9 attack, “had been acting erratically, and when officers tried to subdue him, he allegedly tried to grab one of their guns.” Police then said that “they pinned him and were forced to unleash the dog on him.” The attorney representing the two officers who arrested White reportedly said that the victim was on drugs at the time, and claimed that “he may have died as a result.”
In one video shot by a bystander, New Jersey cops are seen doing nothing while the police dog mauls White. One officer is filmed turning “to witnesses who were recording and demands their camera phones…”
Witnesses told NBC10 that “responding officers were extremely physical with White after he was already restrained and unconscious on the street.” Ricardo Garcia said, “They punched him, stomped him, kicked him and then they let the dog out of the car. The dog bit him on his face and around his body. There’s no call for that. Once a man is handcuffed and unconscious, you should have stuck him in the patrol car and take him to the police station. Instead they decided to beat him right here.”
According to NBC, Luis Martinez, another witness, also insisted that White hadn’t been doing anything wrong and that the officers used excessive force. Martinez said, “The other cop let the dog out and they just kept punching him and the dog kept biting him at the same time. He was on the floor. Like, he was knocked out.”
Law enforcement sources also disputed witness accounts that the officers punched White after he was handcuffed. The sources told NBC10 White engaged in a violent struggle with one of the officers after they called an ambulance for him. They also said at times White remained combative and they insist he never lost consciousness while he was apprehended.
Watch the following videos and see if you can determine if Mr. White “remained combative” while he was lying on the street while being mauled by a police dog.
Police Dog Mauling
Graphic Video Shows Cops Let K9 Maul Man
Jessica Beym (South Jersey Times) reported on Thursday that the Vineland Police Department and one of the officers involved in the arrest of White had “previously been accused of using excessive force and allegedly having a K-9 attack a man in handcuffs.” She said that two lawsuits had been filed against the Vineland Police Department in the past five years—“one of which is still pending and another that was dismissed…” Both suits claimed that police officers had “used excessive force while arresting suspects.”
Beym wrote, “Two officers from the Vineland Police Department — K-9 officer Louis Platania and Rich Janasiak — are currently on administrative leave after Phillip White, 32, died in police custody on March. 31.”
Jersey Cops Let K9 Maul Man to Death, Then Try to Steal the Video (The Daily Beast)