A New Jersey state grand jury decided against criminal charges for Voorhees Township police officers involved in arresting a 37-year-old Evesham man who collapsed while in custody and died that day in 2020, the state Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.
A medical examiner performed an autopsy on Richard Belline and determined that the cause of death was methamphetamine intoxication and excited delirium.
Belline told officers he had been using methamphetamine, according to police bodycam videos of the encounter provided by the Attorney General’s Office.
“I think I’m just crazy and I need help mentally,” Belline said in a 911 call before his arrest on Sept. 6, 2020.
A uniformed Voorhees officer saw Belline’s car speed through the parking lot of the Voorhees Town Center and crash into a curb.
The officer approached Belline, who was out of his car and running away slowly. The officer grabbed his arm and pushed him to the ground as Belline screamed, “Help!” The officer struggled to handcuff him. Backup officers arrived and helped cuff Belline’s hands behind his back.
Belline cried out for help repeatedly as officers waited for an ambulance. Asked what was wrong, he said, “I don’t feel good” and stated that he had used meth.
”You’re fine. You’re intoxicated on narcotics. Relax,” one officer replied. At one point, Belline, who was leaning against a police SUV, slumped to the ground and officers rubbed his chest to revive him. The body-camera footage ended as paramedics put Belline on a stretcher, about nine minutes after he was first approached.
Belline was taken to Jefferson Stratford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:45 p.m. A bag containing suspected methamphetamine was found in his car, the Attorney General’s Office said.
The officers were identified as Thomas Bordi, Michael Marchitto, Kenneth Fowlkes, and Jack Kluk.