NAACP wants details on Dover civil action resolutions

DOVER — Continuing a quest for more information regarding Dover Police Department related issues, La Mar Gunn filed two requests Sunday regarding past settlement details involving the city.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Central Delaware branch president believes the public has a right to know more about past civil action resolutions and the matter of several disgruntled command officers who received money after new police chief Paul Bernat chose Maj. Marvin Mailey as deputy chief in March 2014.

Regarding the payments to city officers in a settlement, Mr. Gunn requested through the Freedom of Information Act the source of the funds disbursed by the city. The city of Dover settled grievances with the officers regarding alleged unfair hiring practices associated with the change in leadership after Chief of Police Jim Hosfelt retired.

La Mar Gunn

La Mar Gunn

Also, Mr. Gunn requested via FOIA any settlement related agreements regarding an ACLU of Delaware lawsuit filed on behalf of Lateef Dickerson against the city of Dover and Cpl. Thomas Webster IV regarding an August 2013 apprehension. Officials confirmed earlier the matter had been resolved, but no terms were disclosed. The city paid a $15,000 insurance deductible regarding the matter, officials said in December 2015, and the case recently was dismissed in federal court.

“Please provide via electronic delivery the name of any and all insurance providers for the city of Dover Police Department,” Mr. Gunn requested to the city.

“In addition, provide any and all details pertaining to police related insurance claims made against ‘any’ insurer of the city of Dover in the preceding 36 months.”

Mr. Gunn maintains, “The information is important to improve upon the safety of the people.

“Not to mention the accountability and transparency of local government. I’m going somewhere with this. Ultimately, gaining access to this information will allow for community involvement and review of how our police are trained.”

Mr. Gunn believes more public awareness will facilitate changes he thinks are needed within city law enforcement.

“Moreover, transparency will lead to a positive dialogue in ushering in a massive retraining,” he said. “Dover PD’s training policy is outdated and it’s to everyone’s benefit if we can move training into the 21st century before taxpayers lose anymore money, and in some cases, lose their lives.”

Continued Mr. Gunn, “Our local government scores a ‘D’ for transparency and a ‘F’ in cultural competency. Thus far, elected officials and city leaders don’t appear at all interested in transparency.”

Last week, Mr. Gunn obtained a copy of the Dover Police Department use of force and firearms policy. He has petitioned the Delaware Attorney General’s office to facilitate his FOIA requests made earlier to the city of Dover regarding ongoing labor negotiations with the Dover Fraternal Order of Police.

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