A Dover police officer found not guilty of assault for kicking a suspect in the head in 2013 has returned to work.
Cpl. Thomas Webster returned to the Dover Police Department on paid administrative leave on Sunday. He had been on unpaid leave.
On Dec. 8th a Kent County jury found Webster, a white officer, not guilty of 2nd and 3rd degree assault for a 2013 incident where he kicked Lateef Dickerson, a black suspect, in the head.
The kick dislocated Dickerson’s jaw and required surgery. During the week-long trial Webster said he meant to kick Dickerson in the torso.
Dover Police Department’s use of force policy requires that any officer involved in the use of deadly force that results in injury or death must receive a psychological evaluation before returning to full duty.
According to the police department, Delaware state law and Dover Police Department directives require Webster be afforded due process, which includes a hearing before a board of Captains, prior to being reprimanded or terminated.
Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat said his department already has completed an internal investigation of the incident.
“As a law enforcement officer, Cpl. Webster is afforded rights under state law, and the Dover Police Department must abide by the law as well as its obligations under Dover Police Department directives,” he said in a statement.
“While the Dover Police Department has treated this incident with the utmost seriousness, Cpl. Webster’s right to return to his job after having been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing must be honored.”