Autopsy finds Maryland man’s death accidental

DOVER — A 19-year-old Maryland man’s death last year involving an ex-Dover Police officer was ruled accidental in findings completed Wednesday.

A six-page summary by the Maryland Chief Medical Examiner indicated that Anton Milbert L. Black, of Greensboro, that while stress of his struggle with officers likely contributed to his death, “no evidence was found that restraint by law enforcement directly caused or significantly contributed to the decedent’s death; in particular, no evidence was found that restraint led to the decedent being asphyxiated.”

One of the officers he struggled with included Thomas W. Webster IV, who was acquitted of assault for a 2013 Dover arrest.

Following the incident on Sept. 15, 2018 in Caroline County, Officer Webster was placed on administrative duty by the Greensboro Police Department. A reporter’s attempt to reach the town for comment Wednesday was unsuccessful.

Six other pages, including toxicology reports were released by the state of Maryland. The potential presence of synthetic cannabinoids in the blood/heart was referenced.

The pathological diagnosis referenced, among other findings, abrasions and contusion’s to Mr. Black’s head, back and extremities, a taser probe within his left buttock, hemorrhages of the eyes and history of bipolar disorder, which was considered a significant contributing condition.

The struggle described

According to the ME’s opinion, Mr. Black was contacted by police after a 7:10 p.m. call reporting a person allegedly restraining a child. Mr. Black released the child and then ran before entering a vehicle and locking the doors, police said.

A police baton strike broke the driver’s side window and a taser was reportedly discharged. The autopsy located a taser dart without an attached wire in Mr. Black’s skin. The taser was described by police as being ineffective, the report said.

Three officers and a civilian combined to restrain Mr. Black, officials said. Mr. Black became prone on a residential handicap ramp, and video showed an officer lying across his back at one point, the opinion said.

An officer said he placed his knees on Mr. Black’s shoulder and handcuffs were applied.

Mr. Black “told his mother he loves her” approximately three minutes after the altercation began. About four minutes later, police said, leg restraints were applied and the struggle ceased.

A minute later, according to the report, police found Mr. Black to be “unresponsive, but breathing with a pulse …

”Approximately two minutes later his mother noted that ‘he is turning dark.’ “

Police said the handcuffs were removed and CPR began 11 minutes after the initial altercation. EMS arrived and continued CPR.

“(Mr. Black) was transported to a hospital, but died despite resuscitative efforts. There was no evidence … that the decedent was physically struck by officers, or had force applied to his neck.”

Officer Webster was found not guilty of assault by a jury in 2015 after police dashcam video showed him breaking a suspect’s jaw with a kick in Dover two years earlier. He departed Dover PD after a $230,000 severance package and was hired by Greensboro PD in 2018.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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