Video of alleged Dover police assault won’t be released

DOVER — Citing the ongoing case involving a suspended Dover Police Department indicted Monday on a felony second-degree assault charge, the Delaware Department of Justice said it will not release video of the alleged incident.

In confirming the indictment of Cpl. Thomas W. Webster IV, the Dover Police Department said an alleged incident on Aug. 24, 2013, involving Lateef Dickerson was captured on a police car camera system.

Thomas W. Webster IV

Thomas W. Webster IV

The ACLU of Delaware has a video recording of the alleged incident and is considering options when or if to release it, Executive Director Kathleen MacRae said earlier. ACLU of Delaware has filed a federal lawsuit against Cpl. Webster and the city of Dover on behalf of Mr. Dickerson. Ms. MacRae said an upcoming meeting with city of Dover representatives is planned to discuss the matter.

Tuesday, the Attorney General’s office said through a spokesman, “we consider (the video) part of the investigative file and that we have an ethical obligation to not taint a potential jury pool.”

The AG’s office said the case was closed when Attorney General Matt Denn entered office and “the case was recently brought to his attention and he reviewed the evidence. After that review, he asked prosecutors to re-present it to the grand jury.”

When Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III was in office, evidence regarding the incident was presented to a Kent County grand jury, which did not return an indictment.

Attorney Jim Liguori, representing Cpl. Webster, said in a statement Monday that while the evidence in the incident

Lateef Dickerson

Lateef Dickerson

had not changed since then, the atmosphere has. Cpl. Webster is not guilty of any criminal offense, Mr. Liguori said.

In a news release Monday, Dover Police said Mr. Dickerson (referred to as “the subject”) suffered a broken jaw and other injuries during an incident and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Police said that Cpl. Webster allegedly kicked Mr. Dickerson once in the head during an arrest, rendering him unconscious. An internal investigation determined that Cpl. Webster acted outside of department policy, Dover Police said, and any possibly disciplinary action was not be disclosed.

Also, Dover Police said, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware reviewed the matter and found no civil rights violation had occurred.

Dover police said Mr. Dickerson initially was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, theft under $1,500, third-degree conspiracy and third-degree assault after the arrest. The AG’s office later dismissed all charges, authorities said.

Cpl. Webster immediately was put on leave without pay when the indictment was returned on Monday, pending the outcome of the case.

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