This story has been overshadowed by the shooting death of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, but is no less horrible: police in Vineland, New Jersey sicced a police dog on a non-resisting, already-down man named Phillip White, who later died as a result of his injuries. The incident happened on March 31, but two previously released videos were difficult to make out. A third video, released Wednesday and posted by Photography Is Not A Crime, gives a much clearer depiction of what happened.
The video (warning: it’s very graphic) begins as the arresting officer, who has not been publicly identified, has White on the ground next to a car. The dog is coming around the side of the car at the beginning of the video, and as it reaches the officer, the officer yells “get him!” and the dog attacks White as the officer punches him. After a few seconds, the officer calls the dog off, but the dog keeps going until the officer pulls back on its leash. The dog then keeps a firm grip on White’s arm as the man filming the video says that White is “knocked out.”
According to NBC 10 in Philadelphia, the incident began at 10:53 AM on March 31, when two Vineland police officers responded to a report of a disorderly person. There was the struggle captured on video, and then White was pronounced dead at the hospital he was taken to after being taken into custody. At some point during the trip, he went into respiratory arrest and became unresponsive.
Phillip White. (Photo: nj.com)
White allegedly reached for an officer’s gun, which prompted the beating, though no video shows White attempting that. Another video shows an officer going over to a witness who filmed the altercation and attempting to confiscate their phone and take down their information. Videotaping police is protected by the First Amendment in New Jersey.
(Screengrab: Photography Is Not A Crime)