Dispute over information resolved in Dover police assault lawsuit


DOVER — The city of Dover and the American Civil Liberties Union have resolved a dispute over information sharing in an ACLU lawsuit stemming from an alleged police assault, an attorney for the city said Wednesday.

In a June 19 letter to a federal judge, a redacted version of which was filed Wednesday in court, an attorney for the ACLU complained that the city had not produced all use-of-force reports submitted by Cpl. Thomas Webster IV.

The ACLU also said the city failed to turn over other records, including training materials and internal affairs records regarding use of force, including four incidents in which police kicked suspects in the head.

After U.S. District Court Judge Richard Andrews met with attorneys Tuesday, city attorney Dan Griffith said the dispute over exchanging information had been resolved.

Thomas W. Webster IV

Thomas W. Webster IV

Police last month released a dashcam video from August 2013 showing Webster kicking Lateef Dickerson in the face when he was on the ground on his hands and knees. Dickerson was knocked unconscious and his jaw was broken. Webster was indicted last month for second-degree assault and faces a November trial. The ACLU is suing the city and Webster on Dickerson’s behalf.

The civil liberties group has been seeking police department records in its lawsuit.

The ACLU has said the city failed to turn over records as required and improperly designated some material as confidential. The ACLU also said the city advised that it would not respond to requests for certain materials until the plaintiff pays the city $1,200.

The city has said that it simply asked the ACLU to pay the standard charge for crime reports, and that it has submitted to nine depositions and turned over thousands of pages documents. It also has argued that the ACLU is not entitled to some of the information it is seeking, including records of communications between the police department and the state attorney general’s office prior to Webster’s indictment.

Webster was placed on leave after the 2013 incident, but a grand jury declined to indict him in March 2014, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office found no civil rights violation. He was arrested only after Attorney General Matt Denn, who took office in January, reviewed the case this year and decided it should be presented to a grand jury again.

The attorney general’s office also does not want its communications with Dover police to be disclosed and filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, which the judge granted on Monday.

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