Jury selection complete in trial of Dover police officer
Dover Police Cpl. Thomas Webster, who’s charged with second-degree felony assault for kicking a black man unconscious in 2013, will face a jury that’s overwhelmingly white at trial this week.
No black men were randomly selected during the jury selection process Monday, while eight of the twelve members chosen are white.
Defense attorneys for Webster, who is white, removed two black women from the jury. One was replaced by another black woman later in the process.
In May, Dover police officials released an August 2013 dash cam video, showing Webster and an unknown officer holding Lateef Dickerson at gunpoint while responding to a report of a fight at a nearby gas station.
In the video, Dickerson lowers himself to the ground when Webster kicks him in the head, breaking his jaw and rendering him unconscious.
Judge Ferris Wharton also dismissed a motion by defense attorney James Liguori to dismiss the case.
Liguori accused the state Attorney General's office of purposely delaying bringing charges against Webster so that certain pieces of evidence — like Webster's own dash cam video and audio — weren't retained past a certain point.
"That requires a level of foresight that I just don't see," Wharton said, noting, "It's not an easy decision to indict a police officer," and that charges were brought within the statute of limitations.
Webster also rejected a plea bargain from prosecutors that would've reduced his charge to misdemeanor third-degree assault, but he also would've had to give up any future career in law enforcement. His current charge carries up to a maximum of eight years in prison.
Webster is currently suspended without pay by Dover Police after a grand jury indicted him in May.
A previous grand jury had chosen not to press charges. Dover PD also disciplined Webster internally, saying his actions “were outside of Dover Police Department policy,” though officials wouldn’t say punishment he received
Webster's trial is expected to last five days, with opening arguments set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.