City of Dover to pay Webster $230,000 in settlement

DOVER ­— A Dover Police Department corporal acquitted of assault will receive $230,000 in exchange for his resignation, according to a separation agreement with the city.

The agreement was obtained Wednesday from the city, a day after Mayor Robin Christiansen announced the resignation of Thomas Webster IV.

According to the agreement, Mr. Webster will receive regular pay and benefits, including his pension, subject to wage and withholding taxes, and vacation accrual, through June 30. His annual salary is $68,398.

Six annual taxable payments will be made from 2017 to 2022.

In 2017 and 2018, Mr. Webster will receive $40,000 payments, followed by $37,500 annual payments between 2019 and 2022. All

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Thomas Webster IV

payments are scheduled between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.

On Dec. 8, 2015, Mr. Webster was found not guilty of assault after kicking Lateef Dickerson in the head during an apprehension two years earlier. He had been suspended without pay following indictment, and benefits were resumed following the acquittal, along with back pay.

Mayor Christiansen issued a statement announcing the agreement in general terms on Tuesday, and declined further comment.

The full agreement was provided after Freedom of Information Act requests by The Associated Press and the Delaware State News.

Mayor Christiansen declined comment Wednesday.

While City Councilman David Anderson said he was “not particularly comfortable” with the settlement amount and would not have supported it.

“Council didn’t have to vote on it because it came out of existing funds,” said Councilman Anderson.

“I am grateful that former officer Thomas Webster is leaving in a dignified and honored way so that we can move forward with matters affecting the city,” he added.

La Mar Gunn, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Central Delaware branch, said the $230,000 settlement had a “huge shock factor.

“I know with the lawyer he was aligned with it could have cost the city three or four times more. Whatever it cost,” said Mr. Gunn. “I have the utmost confidence that the city mayor, the city manager, and the city police chief were doing what had to be done in bridging the gap in this situation.”

Attorney Glenn Mandalas represented the city of Dover in the agreement, with Steven Caponi serving as Mr. Webster’s counsel.

Attorney Jim Liguori, who represented Mr. Webster during the criminal trial in Kent County Superior Court, declined comment.

In December 2015 as the trial proceeded, the city of Dover acknowledged it paid a $15,000 insurance deductible as its part of a lawsuit that the ACLU of Delaware filed on behalf of Mr. Dickerson. Further terms were not disclosed but the matter reportedly was resolved and dismissed in federal court.

The settlement detailed

The city agreed to cease an Internal Affairs investigation regarding Mr. Webster that began on Jan. 16, and issued an acknowledgment it was found to be “unfounded.”

Mr. Webster’s Delaware Council on Police Training certification remains in place.

“The Chief of Police of the Dover Police Department shall immediately execute the Delaware Council on Police Training form … certifies Webster is not subject to any action by the Delaware Council on Police Training for any reason,” the agreement read.

Mr. Webster will remain on paid administration leave status and he is barred from entering the Dover Police Department or communication with city of Dover representatives, according to documents.

He or his counsel can contact the city’s Human Resources Office regarding continued benefits or coverage.

The city of Dover and Mr. Webster agreed to release any potential claim issues against each other.

Mr. Webster will “return to City of Dover all property belonging to City of Dover including, but not limited to all police equipment, keys, office equipment, documents, records, files, written materials, electronic information, credit cards bearing City of Dover’s name, and other City of Dover property …” the agreement read.

Also, the police officer may not release any confidential information gained while working with Dover Police Department. The parties agreed not to criticize each other verbally or in writing in any way that damages reputation or is made to the “detriment” of each other, except what is allowed by the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, local, state or federal law.

Mr. Webster cannot seek future employment or reemployment with the city of Dover, and waived any claims associated with the actions.

Mr. Webster signed the agreement on Monday. The document says he then had seven calendar days to notify the city of any intention to revoke the agreement.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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