ACLU files lawsuit against Dover PD for alleged misconduct

The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware has filed a lawsuit against the Dover Police Department and a police officer for alleged misconduct.

The incident happened in August 2013, when Cpl. Thomas W. Webster IV of the Dover Police Department was responding to a fight at a Hess gas station on North DuPont Highway in Dover.

Webster is accused of using excessive force when he confronted 29-year-old Lateef Dickerson about the incident.

According to the ACLU of Delaware, Dickerson was cooperating when Webster began striking Dickerson until he lost consciousness. Dickerson was treated for cuts and a broken jaw at Kent General Hospital.

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“These actions by Officer Webster violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution that establish a citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable, excessive and unjustified use of force by the police,” said Richard Morse, legal director of ACLU of Delaware. “There is no excuse for the injuries Officer Webster inflicted on Mr. Dickerson, and no excuse for the failure of the Dover Police Department to discipline the officer.”

Webster was suspended from the department with pay last November while an investigation was conducted.

At the request of Attorney General Beau Biden’s office, the case was handed to a Kent County Grand Jury for review in March but an indictment was not issued.

“A primary goal of this lawsuit is to ask the court to order the Dover Police Department to vastly improve their training, supervision and internal review procedures. Individual officers cannot be permitted to abuse their authority and police departments must hold them accountable when they do so,” said Kathleen MacRae, ACLU of Delaware’s executive director.

Dickerson, who has an extensive criminal record, is asking for damages to cover legal expenses in the lawsuit.

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