K-9 officer Louis Platania and Rich Janasiak — are currently on administrative leave after Phillip White, 32, died in police custody on March. 31. In December 2009, Bridgeton resident Jerome Lowery Jr. filed a lawsuit against the city, Vineland Police Department and the police chief, claiming that on Oct. 2, 2009, he was “viciously and brutally” beaten by police officers and attacked by their K-9 dog while handcuffed. No officers are specifically named in the lawsuit.
“While handcuffed, they released the dog on me. He attacked my left leg but only got ahold of my jeans,” he wrote. “One of the officers, realizing that I was already cuffed, informed the K-9 officer who called the dog off. I was shackled at the feet and handcuffed behind my back.”
Lowery filed the civil rights complaint from Cumberland County Jail. He was later sentenced to three years in prison for drug possession.
Lowery’s claim was dismissed in January 2010, however, because the court tried to notify him by mail of the $350 filing fee but the notice — sent to the address Lowery provided — was returned. Failing to provide the court with an accurate street address can be a cause for dismissal, the document states.
In another lawsuit, filed in November 2014, Noel Jones named the police department and a number of its officers including Louis Platania, the K-9 officer involved in White’s arrest last week.
Jones alleges that on June 13, 2014, he was at a bus stop in Vineland when he was arrested by police for allegedly dealing drugs. According to court documents, Jones claims he was “handcuffed and slammed to the ground” and then four officers — including Platania — “physically assaulted (Jones) while he was handcuffed on the ground.”
According to court documents, Jones’ criminal background includes multiple indictable offenses in the 1990s for narcotics.