State: Webster tried to cover up excessive force
State prosecutors argue Dover Police Cpl. Thomas Webster used a mix of lies and falsified documents to try and hide excessive force used to subdue an unarmed, black suspect two years ago.
During opening arguments Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Mark Denney says Webster told a nurse treating Lateef Dickerson that he had punched Dickerson in the face, knocking him to the ground - leaving him unconscious.
A police dash cam video instead clearly shows Webster kicking Dickerson in the head as he’s lowering himself to the ground.
"He had two hands on the ground when he was snap kicked" by Webster, Denney said.
Prosecutors also say the officer mislabeled his patrol car on a use of force report and didn’t file a supplemental police report until after Dickerson complained about his injury more than a month later.
The August 2013 encounter left Dickerson with a broken jaw that needed surgical repair.
Defense attorney James Liguori says Webster’s use of force was justified, as police were searching for a suspect with a gun whose description matched Dickerson after a fight at a nearby gas station.
No weapon was ever found and cops didn’t pat Dickerson down after putting him in handcuffs.
The dash cam video doesn't explain the nuances of the situation, according to Liguori. He says Dickerson spewed out several expletives to police before and after the encounter, saying, "You (expletive) are lucky you caught me."
Dover Police Lt. Todd Case, a witness for the prosecution, testified that Dickerson was "mad and belligerent" when he arrived on-scene, but noticed no significant injury.
The trial is expected to last five days, with prosecutors expected to call their expert witnesses Wednesday.