A newly released dash cam video shows a white Dover police officer kicking a black suspect in the face during a 24 August 2013 arrest. The officer, identified as Cpl. Thomas Webster IV, was indicted on assault charges on 4 May.
The video, which runs for nearly six minutes, shows the arrest of Dover resident Lateef Dickerson at a petrol station, The News Journal reported. Halfway through, Webster and other officers are seen yelling at Dickerson to "get on the f**king ground".
According to the News Journal, the footage was shot from another officer's dashboard camera and includes audio from a police dispatcher reporting a fight at the gas station. Officers are seen racing to find one of the men involved, who was described as wearing a yellow hat and a white shirt. Dickerson matches that description when police catch up to him.
Webster's kick rendered 30-year-old Dickerson unconscious and broke his jaw. The 41-year-old officer was placed on administrative leave.
A Kent County grand jury indicted Webster on Monday for assault. According to the News Journal, a separate grand jury in 2014 refused to indict the officer. However, new Attorney General Matt Denn reviewed the file last week and requested a grand jury review the case.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Delaware announced it was suing the city on behalf of Lateef over the incident and was seeking damages and practice changes in the Dover Police Department.
ACLU executive director Kathleen MacRae released a statement saying the footage "demonstrates the need for large-scale reform of the Dover Police Department, specifically improvements to their use of force and internal affairs practices, and supervision of their officers."
Webster's attorney James Liguori told the Associated Press that once footage from Webster's own patrol car was released, "everybody's going to be satisfied that no crime was committed. They've only seen half the movie."
According to the AP, the president of the Central Delaware Branch of the NAACP criticised the release of the video, citing fears of unrest among community members. "This premature release I don't believe sends the right message, and it places unnecessary risk on members of the community," La Mar Gunn said.
He added the release of the footage was the police's attempt to "control the narrative."
The AP reported that the video was released by Dover police after a federal judge ruled that it was no longer considered confidential. The ruling was in response to the lawsuit filed by the ACLU.