A police officer in Dover, Delaware, was recently charged with assault after he was caught on camera kicking a suspect in the face. The police dashcam video of the 2013 incident was released Thursday.
In the video, Dover police Cpl. Thomas Webster IV is seen kicking suspect Lateef Dickerson. Dickerson was asked to get on the ground. He followed the instructions and got down on his hands and knees. Soon after, Webster kicks Dickerson in the face. Dickerson, 30, suffered a broken jaw and fell unconscious.
The incident took place in August 2013. A local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dickerson, who had an extensive criminal history. The lawsuit was followed by a judge’s ruling that the dashcam video was no longer confidential as evidence. Dover police made the video public after the ruling.
The ACLU chapter sued the Dover Police Department after the U.S. attorney's office for the region ruled that there was no violation of the suspect’s civil rights. The ruling was followed by a grand jury decision in March 2014. Webster was not indicted at the time.
A police department news release confirmed that Webster had been charged with second-degree assault. The 41-year-old police officer was arrested and put on unpaid leave.
Webster refused to comment on his indictment. He said he had faith in the legal system as he wished to “let this sort itself out in a legal venue.”
ACLU Delaware Executive Director Kathleen MacRae said the incident showed that the Dover Police Department needs significant reform. “"The people of Dover have a right to know about this incident and deserve a dialogue with law enforcement about how they can create a safe and equitable Dover community for all," she said.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org