Delaware Police Officer Acquitted in Shocking Videotaped Kicking

White officer had kicked black suspect in the face, even though suspect appeared to comply with commands.

A jury has acquitted a Dover, Delaware, police officer accused of kicking a black suspect in the face — even though the suspect appeared to be complying with commands at the time.

Dover Cpl. Thomas Webster IV, had been charged with felony assault in connection with the 2013 incident, which was captured on a police car dashcam. Webster was seen kicking 29-year-old Lateef Dickerson in the head, knocking him unconscious and breaking his jaw. Dickerson had fled from another officer who was breaking up a fight.

The verdict “sends a clear message to society that the need for law enforcement is not lost,” Fred Calhoun, president of the Delaware Fraternal Order of Police, told the News Journal.

Others were angered.

“This is about unjustifiable behavior and disrespecting and abuse of authority,” Rose Washington told the Delaware State Journal as she left the courthouse. “If you don’t respect the badge that you have on, then how do you expect the people to respect you wearing the badge, and all it does is create fear and then disrespect and who knows what else.”

Webster had been suspended from the Dover Police Department since his May indictment. A decision on reinstating him will be made within the week, officials said.

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