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Family of Florida man killed by police said officers used dead man's finger to gain access to phone

Posted at 9:11 PM, Mar 28, 2018

LARGO, Fla. — The family of Linus Phillip, a man killed by a Largo Police officer in Florida on Friday, is accusing detectives of using the dead man's finger to gain access to his cell phone.

On Friday, police approached Phillip's car at a WaWa gas station in Clearwater. Police said the vehicle he was driving had illegally tinted windows. While standing near Phillip's car, the officers claim they smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. 

Police claim Phillip tried to drive away and use his car as a deadly weapon. One officer, Matthew Steiner, says he was dragged by the car when he tried to open the door and feared for his life.

Phillip was shot and killed by police. He did not have a gun in his possession. 

Steiner, a seven year veteran with no disciplinary action against him, was injured during the incident but is OK.

Phillip's family is demanding surveillance video from the incident at the WaWa gas station in Clearwater where he was killed. Police claim the encounter was not caught on video, only officers giving Phillip CPR.

The family lawyer, John Trevena was surprised.

"There was no denial of the video to the family so this is the first I've heard of that," said Trevena.

The family also claims that detectives used Phillip's lifeless finger to access his phone at the Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home.

"So they are allowed to pull him out of the refrigerator and use a dead mans finger to get to his phone. Its disgusting," said Armstrong.

Police did not comment on the allegations, citing that there is a still an active investigation into the case.

Phillip's mother, Martha Hicks started crying during an interview on Wednesday.

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

The couple has two children together. Their young daughter lost her battle with leukemia last year.

Their son, Isaac is 16 months old.

"My son is no longer going to go have a father, or to make his dad proud. He's not here anymore because of this and the police are slandering his name like some awful person," said Armstrong. "We are fighting to find out what happened."