Vineland cop, cleared in death of suspect last year, now accused of stealing drugs
Above: Footage from the takedown and arrest involving Officer Richard Janasiak that prompted controversy in 2015.
VINELAND — A city police officer has been accused of stealing drugs from the prescription drop box at the Vineland Police Department.
According to the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, 30-year-old Richard Janasiak is accused of taking drugs on multiple dates. It says that from February through March of last year, he had a prescription drug legend or stramonium preparation of at least five dosage units, not prescribed or administered by a doctor.
The Daily Journal quoted Police Chief Rudy Beu saying Janasiak had been a three-and-a-half year veteran of the department when he was implicated in an internal audit last year. The matter was then turned over to the prosecutor's office. He was suspected, initially with pay in March of 2016, but later without pay, according to the report.
“This is an unfortunate incident that was uncovered with our internal checks and balances,” the report quotes the chief saying said. “We caught it, we reported it."
In June of last year — a few months after Janasiak was first implicated in the drug thefts — a Cumberland County grand jury decided not to criminally charge Janasiak or another officer, Louis Platania, in the in-custody death of 32-year-old Phillip White.
The prosecutor's office said White — who residents reported was "freaking out" on their street — violently struggled with police when being arrested in 2015, and reached for one of the officers' guns, NJ.com reported last year. But the officers' forceful takedown of the man spurred controversy. In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen on White's back. When a police K9 is called over, the dog attacks while the officer continues punching.
A lawsuit filed by White's family later last year alleges the officers violated White's rights during the arrest, lied about the incident and intimidated witnesses, NJ.com reported in November.
A medical examiner's report said the PCP caused White's death.
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