The family of a Vineland, N.J., man who died last year shortly after a scuffle in which police released a dog on him called Thursday for authorities to disclose more information about why two officers were cleared in the case.
Stanley King, the attorney for Phillip White's mother, Pamela, said the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office had yet to release autopsy or toxicology reports, police reports, or witness statements from the March 2015 incident.
The family filed a lawsuit in November partly to obtain those documents. The suit, filed in federal court in Camden, also seeks $10 million in damages for White's mother and his children, Iyonna, 18, and Tyreese, 9.
"We've got a grieving mother here that has no closure," said the Rev. James A. Dunkins, whose church Pamela White attends. He helped organize a rally Thursday on Grape Street, where White's scuffle with police occurred, to call for more answers.
The Prosecutor's Office, citing a grand jury decision, concluded in June that the actions of Officers Louis Platania and Rich Janasiak were justified. The office said White died of phencyclidine (PCP) intoxication, which sent him into cardiac arrest.
White's family has said the police dog contributed to his death. King said he and White's family had received a death certificate that suggested PCP intoxication was the cause, but little else from the Prosecutor's Office.
"It's really unfortunate," King said.
First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro did not return a phone call Thursday afternoon.
Police stopped White, 32, after a man called 911 and said someone was screaming outside on Grape around 11 a.m. on March 31, 2015.
Authorities said that a scuffle ensued and that White reached for Platania's weapon, causing Janasiak to set the dog on White.
The Prosecutor's Office said the dog caused superficial injuries to White. It said he went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on the way to Inspira Medical Center Vineland, where he was pronounced dead that day.
The suit filed by White's family alleges that the dog "savagely attacked" him and that he was already unconscious.