Delaware

Video Released of Dover Officer Kicking Man in Head During 2013 Arrest

Police in Delaware have released video of a corporal kicking a man in the head in Dover during an arrest in 2013 — an action that now has the officer facing an assault charge.

The video, recorded by a patrol cruiser's dashcam, shows Cpl. Tom Webster and another officer placing Lateef Dickerson under arrest following a large fight at the Hess Gas Station along North DuPont Highway on Aug. 24, 2013.

A federal judge ruled the video could not be considered confidential any longer and it was released.

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Dickerson fled the gas station, along with several others, and appeared to be cooperating with police when they ordered him to the ground. But as he was on his knees, Webster swiftly kicks Dickerson in the head, the video shows.

The man immediately drops to the ground. Dover police said the kick broke Dickerson's jaw and knocked him out cold. 

An internal investigation was launched in November 2013 and Webster was placed on administrative leave. A grand jury heard the case in March 2014, but did not return an indictment. Webster did violate department policy and was disciplined, however. He returned to the force in June.

The U.S. Attorney's Office also reviewed the arrest and concluded the man's civil rights were not violated. The ACLU stepped in sued the Dover Police Department on Dickerson's behalf.

Then last month, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn brought the case before a second grand jury and Webster was incited on 2nd degree Assault charges on May 4, officials said. He turned himself in the same day and was placed on administrative leave without pay.

Webster's attorney, Jim Liguori, blasted the indictment last week. "The evidence presented before the first grand jury and the second grand jury hasn’t changed. The atmosphere has changed," the attorney said in a statement.

"The coincidence of presenting this ancient matter to a new grand jury, while settlement negotiations between the parties have begun, is awful suspect as to the motives behind this indictment," he went on to say.

Liguori said Webster is innocent and was protecting the community from Dickerson, who is a gang member and armed robber. Denn denies those characterizations.

Webster is out on $5,000 bail.

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