Dover PD releases video of alleged abuse
Dover Police Department released the dash cam video showing an officer kicking a man in the head during a 2013 confrontation Thursday afternoon.
Corporal Thomas Webster was indicted by a Kent County grand jury Monday on felony assault charges for the incident. Webster turned himself in that day and was released after posting a $5,000 bond. He is currently suspended without pay pending the outcome of this case.
The footage shows the suspect, Lateef Dickerson, kicked once in the head, then falling to the ground. He had been told get on the ground and appeared to be starting to do so when he is kicked.
The encounter left Dickerson unconscious and with a broken jaw.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT AND LANGUAGE.
The encounter starts around 2:25.
In a statement included with the video, Dover Police officials say they released the dashboard camera video of the arrest after a federal judge ruled April 27 it was no longer considered confidential.
NAACP Central Branch president La Marr Gunn says he opposes Thursday’s move to make the video available, adding he had been hoping a more planned release with all parties involved part of the process.
Dover Police held a press conference soon after uploading the video to YouTube, calling the incident an "isolated" one.
Lt. Jason Pires says they have notified businesses, local schools, colleges and universities in case of potential demonstrations.
"With the climate of the country, it's obviously a concern with the lawlessness that we've been seeing across the country," Pires said, noting recent riots and violence in Baltimore stemming from the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.
He noted the department hasn't received any tangible threats as of Thursday afternoon. Dover Police have already notified other law enforcement agencies in case they need assistance with potential demonstrations.
Pires would not identify a second officer depicted in the video, nor would he say whether or not that officer was under investigation.
Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen delivered prepared remarks and did not take questions.
"I assure all of our citizens that their First Amendment Rights to protest will be honored, but I must assure the members of our community that lawlessness and violence will not be tolerated," Christiansen said.
A grand jury convened last year chose not to indict Webster at that time and a US District Court reviewed the case, finding that Dickerson's civil rights had not been violated.
Webster was disciplined within Dover Police Department, but details have not been released as it would violate Delaware's Law-Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights law.
The ACLU of Delaware filed a lawsuit against the City of Dover in federal court over the incident, asking for expensive changes in the way the Dover Police Department operates.
ACLU of Delaware executive director Kathleen MacRae says she’s pleased Dover Police released the video.
Our hope is that, by viewing the video people will realize that there is a need for large-scale reform of the Dover Police Department," said MacRae. "We also believe that a dialogue between law enforcement and the citizens of Dover is in order.
MacRae says the lawsuit specifically asks for changes around use of force and police supervision. The ACLU of Delaware and city of Dover are currently in mediation in an effort to resolve the case.
Attorney General Matt Denn (D) revived the case earlier this year