A Delaware police officer, accused of knocking out a suspect and breaking his jaw although he “got down on the ground,” was found not guilty.
Although Lateef Dickerson, a black individual, obeyed police commands to get to the ground, Dover police Cpl. Thomas Webster IV kicked him, leaving him unconscious with a broken jaw. The incident came in the wake of Dover Police Department responding to a fight where Dickerson was one of those fleeing the scene.
In 2014, the case was presented before a grand jury. However, Webster was not indicted. The Delaware Attorney General’s office took it to a second grand jury, which resulted in the police officer being charged with assault. The video footage of the attack was captured on a dash cam of another officer’s car.
RT reports that Webster testified before the second grand jury after the first one did not indict him. He said, “I wasn’t intending to kick him in the head. I was intending to kick him in the body.” The case was considered for 16 hours over a period of three days, and eventually the jurors found Webster not guilty on both felony and misdemeanor charges of assault.
“This obviously was a thoughtful verdict. I hope we can all move on from this,” James Liguori, Webster’s lawyer, said, as reported by Raw Story. A public statement from the police whether Webster will be allowed to resume his duties on the force hasn’t been made yet.
La Mar Gunn, president of the Central Delaware branch of the NAACP, said, “I would just challenge the people to continue to have hope. … There are people who need justice to work, and this sends the wrong message. I can say unequivocally that the police don’t want this either. They actually care about building some trust and a stronger relationship with the black community. We’re going to prove that not only do black lives matter … black votes and black dollars matter.”
While the federal civil rights lawsuit for Dickerson has been resolved, no details have been divulged.