Anonymous has begun to release the identities and home addresses of the three New Jersey police officers involved in the death of 32-year-old Vineland man Philip White.
“On March 31st, 2015, Vineland City, New Jersey, police arrested Phillip White,” says the masked person in the video. “And while handcuffed, [White] was brutally beaten by members of the Vineland City Police Department … Officers kicked, punched and stomped on Phillip White until he was unconscious … A canine officer released a dog and allowed the dog to bite Phillip in his face, head and body. This is absolute grotesque behavior …”
Tuesday afternoon, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Anonymous released the names and addresses of two of the officers, Louis Platania and Jeffrey Travaline, whose identities were confirmed by Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti, along with a third officer, Rich Janasiak. Janasiak and Platania have both been placed on administrative leave; Travaline was only providing assistance.
According to Philly Mag, the group started releasing personal information about the officers involved in the incident after members of the Vineland Police Department and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office failed to meet their demands by the deadline.
Anonymous outlined the following demands in their video:
1. The release of the officers’ names involved
2. The immediate termination of the K9 officer
3. The remaining two officers put on administrative leave
4. The dash cam footage be released to the public
On March 31st, officers responded to a call about a disorderly person on the 100 block of Grape Street in Vineland. Upon arrival, they encountered White and that is when things escalated and turned violent, ending with White’s death.
However, Vineland’s police chief is defending his officers saying they acted in accordance with the law.
Chief Codispoti claims the cell phone video fails to show the entire story.
“They’re a part of an incident that is minutes long and those are seconds long, those videos,” Codispoti said. “Clearly what they show is what we hear on the radio. A violent struggle.”
According to NBC10, Codispoti said White was looking for medical attention before any struggle with officers. He also added that White’s hand was on one of the officer’s gun, reaching for the locking mechanism, during his arrest. Codispoti’s claims are backed by the toxicology report.
“Phillip caused his own demise,” said Stuart Alterman, an attorney representing the officers who arrested White. “And it’s unfortunate. And I think any reasonable person views this as a tragic circumstance. But it was not caused by the actions of the Vineland police officers.”
A toxicology report shows that White was on PCP and other drugs during the time of his death, and Alterman believes it was the drugs that ended his life, not the use of a police dog or other force.
In the 911 call that started the meeting between White and the officers, the called told dispatches of White, “He’s screaming, I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with him.” While inside the ambulance, White became unresponsive.
Autopsy results are still pending.
See raw footage of the incident here: