ACLU seeks communications on alleged assault by officer

AP News
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Posted: Jun 05, 2015 6:32 PM

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking records of communications between the Delaware attorney general's office and Dover city officials about a case in which a dashcam video shows a police officer kicking a man in the face.

The ACLU filed court papers Friday seeking the documents.

The organization sued the city last September over the alleged assault of Lateef Dickerson by Cpl. Thomas Webster IV in 2013. Police last month released a dashcam video showing Webster kicking Dickerson in the face when he was on the ground on his hands and knees.

Dickerson, 30, was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw.

The alleged assault occurred as officers responded to a fight at a service station possibly involving someone with a gun. Charges against Dickerson of assault, theft and resisting arrest were later dropped.

But Dickerson, who has a long criminal history, is scheduled to stand trial in Wilmington later this month on unrelated weapons charges. After rejecting a plea deal last month, he could face life in prison if convicted as a habitual offender on charges related to a burglary in Maryland in which several firearms were stolen.

Meanwhile, Webster, 41, was placed on unpaid leave after being indicted last month for second-degree assault. His attorney has said that further evidence will show that no crime was committed by Webster.

Webster was placed on paid leave in November 2013 pending an internal investigation and a review of the case by then-Attorney General Beau Biden's office, which took the case to a grand jury last year. The grand jury declined to indict Webster, however, and the U.S. Attorney's Office found no violation of Dickerson's civil rights.

But Attorney General Matt Denn, who took office in January, reviewed the case and ordered it be presented to a second grand jury.

The ACLU on Friday filed a notice of a June 17 deposition to obtain records of communications between city officials and Denn's office since Jan. 1.

The judge in the case has scheduled a June 23 teleconference to hear arguments in a dispute over information exchange and disclosure.