Delaware

Delaware police officer who kicked suspect in head acquitted

  • Thomas Webster walks into court with his wife.

    Thomas Webster walks into court with his wife.  (Jennifer Corbett/The News Journal via AP)

  • In this image from police video, Cpl. Thomas Webster, center, kicks Lateef Dickerson in the face as Dickerson is following orders to get on the ground during an arrest.

    In this image from police video, Cpl. Thomas Webster, center, kicks Lateef Dickerson in the face as Dickerson is following orders to get on the ground during an arrest.  (Dover Police Department via AP)

A Delaware jury has acquitted a white police officer of assault after he kicked a black suspect in the head, breaking his jaw.

Jurors deliberated for about 16 hours over three days before acquitting Dover police officer Thomas Webster IV of felony assault and misdemeanor assault on Tuesday afternoon.

Webster testified that he didn't intend to kick Lateef Dickerson in the head in August 2013 and instead was aiming for his upper body. Webster also said he feared for the safety of himself and others because officers were told Dickerson was armed with a gun, and Dickerson was slow to comply with repeated commands to get on the ground.

Prosecutors argued that Webster acted recklessly and used excessive force.