Dover woman claims assault by police during traffic stop

Surrounded by family members and supporters, Dover resident ShaRon A. Caldwell speaks on the steps of the Dover Police Department during a press conference Tuesday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

DOVER – A 23-year-old woman said she’s seeking justice after suffering broken bones during a traffic stop near her home on May 13.

ShaRon A. Caldwell claimed a Dover Police officer assaulted her during the incident, which law enforcement said followed an alleged traffic violation in the area of Mary Street approaching North New Street around 9:14 p.m. Lachelle Paul described her daughter as being needlessly body slammed to the ground.

Ms. Caldwell alleged that the incident occurred only because she repeatedly asked the officer the reason for the stop.

Ms. Paul called a Tuesday morning press conference at the steps of the Dover Police Department to air grievances, calling, along with her daughter, for greater police accountability in the case.

“I’m on your doorstep today just to get my word (out) as to things that should not happen,” said Ms. Caldwell, who was wearing a cast on her right leg during a session lasting around 45 minutes.

An evaluation at Bayhealth Medical Center on the night of the incident found a fractured tibia, talus and navicular bones in the ankle area. Surgery on Ms. Caldwell’s tibia was performed on May 22, her mother said.

Dover City Councilman Roy Sudler, left, and EShed Alston speak Tuesday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

Ms. Paul said she’s seeking any related audio and video that police may have as the case progresses.

According to Dover Police spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman, “Based on the evidence we have, which includes in-car video, we believe the actions taken by the officer were within departmental policy after the female defendant struck him in the face.”

Ms. Caldwell was charged with second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, offensive touching, disorderly conduct, failure to obey an emergency order and a headlight violation. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 7 in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas.

In a probable cause affidavit, an officer wrote that he suffered cuts and abrasions to his elbow and another officer suffered a swollen and bruised right elbow.

When Ms. Paul questioned Mayor Robin R. Christiansen Monday at a weekend riot-related news conference at city hall, the mayor suggested a contact to meet regarding the arrest.

On Tuesday, the mayor said “I certainly would meet with them and discuss their concerns.

“I have encouraged a filing of a complaint form either in person or online. An internal affairs investigation will be conducted. Then the complaint would be confirmed or unfounded.

Dover City Councilman Roy Sudler, Jr., center, and family friend Brandon Hollar, right, assist ShaRon Galdwell to her car Tuesday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

“The next level is a request and investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. I believe in due process and justice for all.”

While Ms. Paul said she was open to meeting with the mayor, she didn’t anticipate positive results if arranged. On Monday, she said no official internal affairs complaint was filed because she didn’t believe it would be handled fairly.

Ms. Caldwell said she’s struggling to care for her 3-year-old son as the healing continues but “I’m not knocked down, I’m still strong, I’m not broken.

“I’ve got a few broken pieces but I still stand strong …”