Dickerson pleads guilty to gun charges

 

WILMINGTON — A Delaware man who was seen on police dashboard camera video being kicked in the head by a Dover police officer in a racially-charged case from 2013 has pleaded guilty to unrelated gun charges.

Lateef Dickerson pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Castle County Superior Court to possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, receiving a stolen firearm, and conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month. The judge ordered Dickerson’s bail be revoked and that he be held in prison pending sentencing.

Prosecutors dropped two other firearms charges stemming from Dickerson’s 2014 arrest. Authorities have said guns were stolen during a burglary on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and later stored in a shed in Middletown.

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Lateef Dickerson

Prosecutors also agreed to drop several charges in two other cases in which Dickerson was accused of assaulting and choking his former girlfriend and assaulting another woman at a Middletown apartment complex in September 2015.

Dickerson, who has a long criminal history, still faces charges of carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited stemming from his arrest by Delaware State Police in January following a traffic stop in Newark.

In December, a Kent County jury acquitted Dover police Cpl. Thomas Webster IV, who is white, of assaulting Dickerson, who is black, during an arrest in August 2013. Dickerson suffered a broken jaw.

Webster testified that he didn’t intend to kick Dickerson in the head and was instead aiming for his upper body. Webster also said he feared for the safety of himself and others because officers responding to reports of a large fight were told Dickerson was armed with a gun, and that Dickerson was slow to comply with repeated commands to get on the ground.

Dashcam video from another officer’s vehicle shows Dickerson had placed his hands on the ground but wasn’t fully prone when Webster kicked him.

Prosecutors first took the case to a grand jury in 2014 but failed to get an indictment against Webster, and the U.S. attorney’s office later concluded there was no civil rights violation. Webster was indicted last year, however, after Democratic Attorney General Matt Denn took office and decided to take the case to a second grand jury.

Following Webster’s acquittal, Dover officials agreed to pay him $230,000 in a settlement agreement that included his immediate resignation.

Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit filed against Webster and the Dover Police Department by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Dickerson was dismissed in January after attorneys reached a settlement. The Associated Press has filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office challenging the city’s refusal to release details of the settlement under the Freedom of Information Act.

Randall Chase writes for the Associated Press

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