Man kicked in face by Dover officer got $300,000

AP News
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Posted: Feb 06, 2017 5:24 PM

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A black man whose jaw was broken when he was kicked by a white police officer received $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union.

An attorney for the city of Dover released a copy of the 2015 settlement with Lateef Dickerson on Monday after the attorney general's office said Friday that the city violated the Freedom of Information Act in refusing to release its details.

The Associated Press challenged the FOIA denial, arguing that the city had no basis to keep the settlement, reached through its insurer, confidential. The News Journal of Wilmington also filed a challenge.

A 2013 police dashcam video shows Dickerson being kicked in the face by Cpl. Thomas Webster IV after officers responded to a report of a large fight at a gas station and a man armed with a gun.

Webster said he feared for his safety and the safety of others because officers were told Dickerson was armed with a gun, and Dickerson was slow to comply with repeated commands to get on the ground. Webster also told jurors he did not mean to kick Dickerson in the head, but was aiming for his upper body. He was acquitted of assault in a December 2015 trial. The city settled Dickerson's lawsuit a few weeks later.

Just days after the settlement, Dickerson and two other men were arrested after a traffic stop in Newark. Police found a .32 caliber revolver in a bag on the rear seat of the car. All three were charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited.

Meanwhile, Dover officials agreed last February to pay $230,000 to Webster in return for his immediate resignation from the police force.

In April, Dickerson pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, receiving a stolen firearm, and conspiracy. Prosecutors dropped other charges against Dickerson related to a burglary and gun theft in 2014. They also dropped charges involving the alleged assaults of his former girlfriend and another woman in September 2015.

The judge declared Dickerson a habitual offender and sentenced him to the minimum mandatory 10 years in prison on the gun possession charge.