New Jersey State Police and Cumberland County officials have launched an investigation into the death of Phillip White, 32, who, according to witnesses, was beaten and kicked by police after he was cuffed and unconscious on the ground.
According to NBC 10, Vineland, N.J., police arrested White around 11 a.m. Tuesday, and he died shortly after while in their custody.
"They punched him, stomped him, kicked him, and then they let the dog out of the car," witness Ricardo Garcia told the news station. "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."
Agustin Ayala, who was on the street when White was being arrested, told the Daily Journal that White was resisting arrest.
"He was resisting," Ayala told the Daily Journal. Ayala added that he yelled to the cops to stop because they were being forceful, to which, he claims, an officer replied, "You didn't see him try to take my gun."
The police have not released an explanation for why White was being arrested, but White's aunt, Valerie White, told NBC 10 that she wants answers. "Why, what he was doing, I don't know," she said. "I'm trying to get answers and closure now. He lived a street life, but he was a human being. Bottom line."
Police have been tight-lipped about how White died, but Vineland Police Chief Timothy Codispoti offered his condolences to White's family. "Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased and with the officers involved," Codispoti said in a statement.