Anonymous hactivists make good their promise by revealing the names of police officers behind the mystery killing of Phillip White
The online hacktivist group, Anonymous made good of its promise made to Vineland NJ Police Department and revealed the names of two police officers involved in the brutal killing of Phillip White by a canine.
Anonymous had made the threat through a video after the brutal killing of 32 year old White in Vineland police custody. The Vineland police used a canine to restrain, after they said he tried to reach for one of the officers’ weapons on March 31.
White’s family and a rights activist, citing witnesses however alleged that the police members tortured White. They said that the officers punched and beat White before he was placed in an ambulance for respiratory distress. To back up their claims they pointed to bystander’s cellphone video, which they say shows a police dog biting White as he lies on the ground.
The police apparently did not take the Anonymous threat seriously and Anonymous did what it had promised, revealed the names of two of the Vineland, N.J., officers involved in a fatal arrest and officials confirmed the names of the police officers. On Tuesday, the names, home addresses, and phone numbers of Officers Louis Platania and Jeffrey Travaline were posted on a website that has been used by Anonymous hackers.
A lawyer representing the three officers involved in the incident confirmed their names, as did the chief, who was cited by NJ.com. Chief Timothy Codispoti posted recordings of the 911 call and police dispatches from the arrest of Phillip White on the department’s Facebook page.
Stuart Alterman, who said he has been hired by the police union to represent the three officers, called the release of names by Anonymous “unfortunate,” saying the investigation should be allowed to play out.
“To interrupt the flow and to threaten the release of information is tantamount to extortion of law enforcement authorities,” Alterman said.
The video which is given above, lasts two minutes and 21 seconds. In the video the Anonymous voice demands that two of the officers be placed on administrative leave, and that the canine officer be fired.
The voice also threatened to hack into the websites of the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office and Vineland Police Department if they did not comply.
“Vineland Police Department and the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office have 24 hours to comply to our demands,” a masked figure speaking in a computer-altered voice said in the video, posted Monday with no time stamp. “Or we will release the officers’ names involved, including all personal information for each officer.”
Another of Anonymous demand was also met with the police chief saying that Platania and another officer Rich Janasiak were placed on administrative leave.
The killing of White happened because he was taken into custody when a man who called 911 the day of the incident told a dispatcher that he saw a man in the 100 block of Grape Street acting “crazy.” “He’s screaming, I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with him,” the caller said.
In the custody, White allegedly tried to reach for a police officers gun, a charge which White’s family disagrees with. On the police desptaches an officer can be heard yelling over the radio that the suspect was “trying to grab my gun.” A few seconds later, another officer told responding units, “Slow down, he’s in cuffs.” A dog could be heard barking in the background.
White’s family and activist Walter Hudson, who met with the family the day White died, had been calling for police to release the officers’ names.
Hudson, chairman of the Salem County-based civil rights group National Awareness Alliance, called the disclosures “the first step toward justice.”
But he criticized authorities for waiting until the video from Anonymous to disclose the names. “We shouldn’t have to go through those extreme measures,” Hudson said.