A newly released video of an August 2013 arrest shows a white Dover, Delaware police officer kicking a Black suspect in the head, sparking calls for department reforms in the wake of numerous police brutality incidents nationwide, Delaware Online’s The News Journal reports.
The video, captured by a dashboard camera on Aug. 23, 2013, shows the moment Cpl. Thomas Webster IV walks up to Lateef Dickerson as he complies with officers’ demands to lie face down on the ground. As he does, Webster kicks him in the head once, leaving Dickerson unconscious. The victim’s jaw was also broken.
Police were responding to a fight at a Hess Service Station — a dispatcher can be heard saying that one of the suspects was wearing a yellow shirt and a hat, similar to Dickerson’s clothing, and had a gun — prior to the encounter.
No gun was found at the scene and charges against Dickerson, including resisting arrest, theft and assault, were dropped, the site writes. Webster was suspended with pay pending an investigation, but a grand jury elected not to indict him in March 2014.
With the release of the disturbing video, Webster was indicted on Monday for second-degree assault after a second grand jury reviewed the case.
From The News Journal:
The indictment came after Attorney General Matt Denn, who took office in January, personally reviewed the file and asked for a grand jury review. “The case was brought to his attention last week,” said spokesman Carl Kanefsky. “He reviewed the evidence, and as a result of that review, asked prosecutors to re-present the case to a grand jury.”
The ACLU is suing the city of Dover on behalf of Dickerson. A probe headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office found no civil rights violations, the site notes.
“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,” said Kathleen MacRae, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware. Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson said the Dover incident clearly shows mistreatment by law enforcement.
“What is clear is that a man who is down should not be kicked to unconsciousness,” said Jackson, who appeared at protests and a funeral in Baltimore and Ferguson. “That is excessive force.”
Following a number of incidents that have left Black men and women dead or injured at the hands of police, the Dover Police Department is facing major scrutiny to reform their policies and practices.
Dover Police Lt. Jason Pires, however, told The News Journal that Dickerson’s encounter with his officers is “an isolated incident.”