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Posted under: News

Police Fatally Shot This Florida Man, Then Performed Another Callous Act As He Lay In A Funeral Home

Black. Bodies. Are. Not. For. Your. Abuse.

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Nearly a month after Linus Phillip Jr. was killed by police in Largo, Florida, his family was outraged to see police arrive at the funeral home with the intent of using his finger to unlock his cellphone. 

According to ABC,  Phillip was killed on March 23 after stopping at a Wawa gas station where Largo police officers saw that Phillip's vehicle had heavily tinted windows. Officers approached the car where he provided police with papers showing that the car was a rental; however, police reportedly asked why the car smelled like marijuana. 

Police then said they were going to search him and detain him, but Phillip jumped into the driver's seat in an attempt to flee the scene, reports ABC. One officer was hanging onto the car when Phillip allegedly put the car in reverse and accelerated near the gas pump, which made the officer fear for his life and fire his weapon. 

Phillip was fatally shot four times. 

Now, days before the funeral, police add insult to injury by attempting to use his finger to unlock his phone. 

According to the family's attorney, two detectives came to the funeral home where Phillip was being serviced, held the man's hands up to the iPhone's fingerprint sensor in the cold storage at the funeral home but did not successfully unlock it. 

"So they are allowed to pull him out of the refrigerator and use a dead man's finger to get to his phone. It's disgusting," Phillip's girlfriend Victoria Armstrong told WFTS. "We are fighting to find out what happened."

Lieutenant Randall Chaney confirmed the incident saying that detectives didn't think they would need a warrant since there's no expectation of privacy after death. Because Phillip was found with drugs in his possession, there is an ongoing investigation. 

His family is demanding that an investigation be done on the Police Department. Investigators reportedly reviewed multiple Wawa cameras but concluded that the footage is "limited" and does not show the encounter between Phillip and the officers. However, footage has been released and Phillip's death has been ruled a "justifiable homicide."

"They killed him after his 30th birthday. Oh god, he turned 30 on March 11," Martha Hicks, Phillip's mother, said. "It's too much, too much. We just want to know what happened."

The family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to get a second autopsy. At the time of publication, they had received $425 of their $50,000 goal. 

"The family wants to hire an independent professional to perform [a]  second autopsy for the family, just like the one Stephon Clark’s family ordered -- which revealed Clark was shot 6 times in the back, refuting the official police account," the GoFundMe page reads. "The family is also facing the loss of a breadwinner, and a variety of end-of-life expenses. When a victim of a police shooting leaves a family behind, it’s always difficult and always costly. We are asking your help to defray the costs of our independent investigation, the new autopsy and the family’s expenses."

To learn more about Linus Phillip's case, check out the video below.

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Malinda is a staff writer for Blavity, freelance content creator, and executive assistant residing in Cleveland, OH. As a proud graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, she loves all things HBCU. In her free time she enjoys being a bomb plant mom, self-care, bottomless mimosas and painting. Contact by email: malindajny@gmail.com