Delaware state senator acquitted of assault charges, still faces ethics inquiry

Darius Brown is sworn in as a Delaware State senator at Legislative Hall in Dover in January 2019. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

File photo: Darius Brown is sworn in as a Delaware State senator at Legislative Hall in Dover in January 2019. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A Wilmington jury found Delaware State Sen. Darius Brown not guilty of assaulting a woman last year, but despite the court’s decision, Brown still faces a Senate ethics inquiry in Dover.

The case stems from an incident at Taverna Rustic Italian Restaurant on Silverside Road near Wilmington last May. A woman accused Brown of punching her in the face, and throwing and breaking a glass of water after an argument.

The brief trial started Wednesday, and jurors delivered their not guilty verdict early Thursday afternoon.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said cases like this are difficult to prosecute, and difficult for victims to endure.

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“The sad reality is that our society’s grip on the gravity of these crimes is still maturing,” she said. “Each year there are thousands of similar cases here and across this country that never attain this case’s profile, whose victims’ suffering happens in the shadows, and who have to hear the same verdicts rendered.”

Even though he’s avoided conviction, Brown will still face an ethics inquiry in the state Senate.

“What remains clear, however, is that Sen. Brown has been involved in multiple confrontations in public spaces over the last year, regardless of whether that behavior rose to the level of criminal conduct,” said Senate Pres. Pro-tem David Sokola. Both Brown and Sokola are Democrats.

“As elected representatives of the people we serve, I believe we owe it to Delawareans to hold ourselves to a higher level of accountability and conduct,” Sokola said.

The Senate Rules and Ethics Committee is expected to fully review the allegations against Brown in the coming weeks.

Delaware lawmakers will return to Dover following a six-month break on Tuesday.

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