After being acquitted of assault, a Dover, Del., police officer caught on video kicking a suspect in the head is expected to return to the police force today on paid administrative leave, NBC News reports.
Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat made the announcement Saturday regarding Cpl. Thomas Webster IV. He said that the department’s policy requires Webster to undergo a psychological evaluation before returning to full duty.
A jury acquitted the officer of felony assault on Dec. 8 and declined to convict him on a lesser charge. Webster testified that he was aiming for Lateef Dickerson’s upper body when he unintentionally kicked him in the head and broke his jaw during a 2013 arrest.
The verdict shocked many in the black community because the video appears to show Dickerson submitting to arrest when Webster strikes him.
La Mar Gunn, the local NAACP president, called the verdict “beyond belief.”
He added: “You saw the video. You heard all the evidence. How does something like this happen?”
In a statement to WMDT-TV, Bernat urged the community and elected officials to remember that Webster is entitled to due process.
“While the Dover Police Department has treated this incident with the utmost seriousness, Corporal Webster’s right to return to his job after having been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing must be honored,” the police chief said, according to WMDT.