Citizen videos of police misconduct are eroding the presumption that police do not commit misconduct
Good news out of Delaware this week. A video of an encounter in 2013 between a white police officer and an unarmed black citizen who was in the process of dropping to his knees when the officer kicked him in the face, breaking his jaw, has resulted in the officer being charged with second-degree assault.
The Christian Science Monitor is reporting,
A Dover, Del., police officer who faced no criminal charges in 2013 for knocking a surrendering man unconscious with a jaw-breaking kick could face jail time, after all.
In 2013, then-attorney general Beau Biden (Vice President Joe Biden’s son) failed to get a grand jury indictment against Cpl. Tom Webster for injuring Lateef Dickerson without cause. But a judge in a civil rights lawsuit recently ruled that a video of the event could be released publicly, and current Attorney General Matt Denn brought the case again, resulting in an indictment for second-degree assault Monday.
The Delaware video shows an officer responding to a fight possibly involving a gun. The officer pulls up to the scene, where a black man in a ball cap is standing. The man raises his hands as Corporal Webster can be seen approaching from the left side of screen, ordering him to the ground. As Mr. Dickerson in the process of complying with the order, Webster kicks him, knocking Dickerson unconscious, sending his baseball cap flying, and breaking his jaw.
This case illustrates the important role that citizen videos of police misconduct are playing in eroding the presumption that police do not commit crimes when they injure or kill unarmed black suspects.