Phillip White, of Cumberland County NJ, died yesterday in custody after being beaten in the street by two Vineland police officers.
Police were arresting White at a home on the 100 block of Grape Street when witnesses say the officers proceeded to beat him brutally after he was already restrained and on the ground.
One of the officers is heard on the dispatch recording saying “Subject under…tried to disarm me.” However, eyewitness Agustin Ayala paints a different story, saying he saw the officers handcuff White and take him to the ground.
Ricardo Garcia, another eyewitness, is outraged. “The guy was out cold,” stated Garcia. “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.”
White was taken into custody around 11am Tuesday morning and died shortly thereafter.
Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti has not released any details about the incident but has offered condolences to the family of the victim.
“Why, what he was doing, I don’t know,” White’s aunt, Valerie White, said. “I’m trying to get answers and closure now. He lived a street life, but he was a human being. Bottom line.”