Actions of former Dover cop investigated in Maryland

DOVER — A former Dover Police officer acquitted of assault after kicking a suspect and breaking his jaw in a 2013 arrest is on administrative duty following the death of a 19-year-old Caroline County, Maryland man that continues to be investigated, according to published reports.

Thomas W. Webster IV, the former Dover officer who joined the Greensboro Police Department last year, was present during the Sept. 15, apprehenson of Greensboro resident Anton Black.

Mr. Black died after showing signs of medical distress, according to authorities and media accounts.

Maryland State Police said at the time that an autopsy did not determine a cause of death or identify any significant injuries.

On Wednesday MSP spokeswoman Elena Russo said the probe continues and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore has not released a cause of death.

An attempt to reach the Town of Greensboro for comment Wednesday was unsuccessful.

According to the Associated Press, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told the Baltimore Sun he and Mr. Black’s family want to know what happened. Gov. Hogan says he had been pushing MSP and the medical examiner to finish their investigation.

The AP described a police report that an officer was called to the scene to a report of Mr. Black allegedly dragging a 12-year-old boy down a street near the Choptank River Bridge. The officer ordered Mr. Black to release the boy and place his hands behind his back, authorities said. Mr. Black released him, but fled, according to police.

Police administered Narcan and conducted CPR after monitoring Mr. Black’s breathing and subsequent physical struggle.

While MSP said a taser was reportedly deployed during the incident, no mention was made whether it struck its intended target.

Police said they chased and tried to restrain Mr. Black, who allegedly resisted arrest, the AP story said. Police said they shocked him with a stun gun and placed him in restraints.

Police administered Narcan and conducted CPR after monitoring Mr. Black’s breathing and subsequent physical struggle, according to the MSP report.

Following Mr. Black’s death after a police chase — prompted by what was described as an abducted child investigation — MSP released a statement noting that the Greensboro Investigation continues.

Police requested assistance for the ensuing investigation.

“State Police homicide investigators are conducting a full, detailed investigation of this death,” the statement read in part.

“Officials from the Caroline County State’s Attorney’s Office have been kept informed of the investigative process since the night the investigation began, when they were present at the scene and consulted by State Police investigators.

“As in any criminal investigation, evidence is collected and analyzed. Items considered MSP said body camera footage review and witness interviews by the Homicide Unit were part of the investigation to have evidentiary value are kept in police custody until a final determination has been made regarding the outcome of the investigation …

“The Maryland State Police assures the family of Anton Black, the Greensboro Police Department and the citizens of Caroline County that this investigation is being conducted thoroughly, impartially and professionally.

“To that end and because this investigation is continuing, statements will not be made concerning specific evidence, witness statements, or procedures that are a part of this investigation. Upon completion of the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigation, it will be presented to the Caroline County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.”

At the time of Officer Webster’s hire in 2018, Town Manager Jeannette DeLude said, “The Town of Greensboro had an opening for a patrol officer,” DeLude said. “After a thorough background check, Mr. Webster was found to be the most qualified applicant. His position is pending successful completion of comparative complince training and certification by the State of Maryland.”

Months after Officer Webster was found not guilty by a Kent County jury, he resigned and agreed to a a $230,000 severance package from the City of Dover. The agreement included pay with benefits, including pension preservation, for work missed during the case.

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