Bodycam footage released Tuesday in the September death of a man taken into custody by Voorhees police seems to support the police narrative that Richard Belline, 37, of Evesham, died of a drug overdose.
Belline told officers he had been using methamphetamine, according to videos of the encounter provided by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. Its investigation continues.
“I’m being pursued by a gang and they’re trying to kill me,” Belline said, according to a recording of a 911 call he made while driving about 2:40 p.m. Sept. 6. “I think I’m just crazy and I need help mentally,” he said before hanging up.
About 15 minutes later, a uniformed Voorhees officer saw Belline’s car speed through the mall’s parking lot 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.
“Help me!” Belline cried out repeatedly as officers waited for an ambulance. Asked what was wrong, he said, “I don’t feel good” and reported 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.
When the investigation into the death is completed, the case will be presented to a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges are warranted, the Attorney General’s Office said.