Jurors: Vineland, NJ police didn’t violate rights of man who died
CAMDEN — A federal court jury has decided that Vineland police did not violate the civil rights of a man who died shortly after a physical altercation during his arrest 7 1/2 years ago.
After a trial, jurors in federal court in Camden sided with the city Oct. 19 in a lawsuit filed by relatives of Phillip White, 32, of Vineland, according to court records.
Officers had responded in March 2015 to reports of a man “freaking out” on the street and eventually subdued White after a struggle captured on video by a bystander. The video showed an officer hitting White and a police dog being used during the arrest.
White died on the way to the hospital, and an autopsy cited a toxic level of the drug Phencyclidine, or PCP, in his system. Injuries from the K9’s actions were noted but deemed superficial by a medical examiner.
Cumberland County prosecutors said in 2016 that a grand jury had declined to indict the two Vineland officers involved. White's relatives filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city and the two officers, one of whom was later dismissed as a defendant.
“We believe very strongly in our client and our client’s cause, but the jury didn’t see it that way,” said Michael Galpern, an attorney for White’s mother, Pamela, told NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. He said the defense was considering whether to appeal.
An attorney for Vineland and its police department declined comment, NJ.com reported.