cop charged for kick
After 2 years, police in Dover, Delaware, released dashcam video showing one of their officers kicking a man in the head, allegedly “rendering him unconscious.”
As CNN reports, Cpl. Thomas Webster was indicted Monday in the August 2013 incident. The video recording was released Thursday.
According to a police news release, officers were responding to reports of a large fight at a gas station.
A dispatcher can be heard in the recording reporting that at least one subject allegedly had a gun. When at least two officers, including Webster, come upon a man who matched the description of someone at the fight, they order him repeatedly to “get on the ground.”
Lateef Dickerson is seen on the dashcam with his hands in the air. As he begins to his drop to his knees, Webster, with his gun drawn, yells again for him to get on the ground, while simultaneously kicking him in the head, authorities said. Dickerson’s hat is knocked from his head as he falls to the ground and is handcuffed.
Kathleen MacRae, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware said:
“We believe that the video demonstrates the need for large-scale reform of the Dover Police Department, specifically improvements to their use of force and internal affairs practices and supervision of their officers,”
Dickerson suffered a broken jaw that required surgical repair, as well as several lacerations to his face, according to a civil complaint.
Charges levied against him for his involvement in the altercation were eventually dropped, according to his attorney, Daniel Herr.
The path to bring charges against the officer has been complicated. Webster was placed on paid administrative leave in November 2013, pending a internal investigation and review of the case.
In March 2014, then-Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden presented the case to a grand jury, which did not return an indictment.
Following that decision, along with the police department’s internal investigation, Webster returned to full duty and was “reassigned to the patrol division,” according to police.
Herr, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a civil lawsuit in September 2014, saying Webster used excessive force in his arrest of Dickerson. The lawsuit seeks damages of an unspecified amount, as well as “policies . . .that would provide for robust and proper internal affairs investigations . . .” according to the complaint.
Since the filing, current Attorney General Matt Denn decided the case needed a second look. A second grand jury Monday handed down an indictment; Webster was charged with second-degree assault.
Webster turned himself over to police Monday; he has since been released on $5,000 bond.
Webster attorney James Liguori, in a statement to local media, said, “the second grand jury saw the same evidence as the first grand jury,” and what’s changed is Dickerson’s civil action against Webster, the city and the police department in federal court. Liguori contended his client was not involved in wrongdoing.
CNN’s attempts to reach Liguori for comment were unsuccessful Friday.
Dover police placed Webster on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the criminal case.