DOVER — A 30-year-old man seen in a video allegedly being kicked unconscious by a Dover police officer during a August 2013 arrest could receive life in prison if found guilty on firearms-related charges at a trial next week, officials said Tuesday.
Lateef A. Dickerson, presumed innocent until proven guilty, was arrested following a Middletown Police Department investigation on July 17, 2014, regarding guns allegedly stolen and then stored in an unsecured shed, the Delaware Department of Justice said.
According to the DOJ, Mr. Dickerson on Monday declined a plea deal to a count each of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, receiving stolen firearms and second-degree conspiracy.
A guilty plea to the person-prohibited charge would have given him a mandatory minimum 10 years of incarceration due to his being twice convicted of a violent felony, the DOJ said.
Also, a plea by Mr. Dickerson would have made him eligible for habitual offender status and possibly sentenced from no time to life in prison for allegedly receiving stolen firearms and no time to two years for conspiracy, officials said.
Mr. Dickerson is facing two counts each of possession of a firearm/ammunition by person prohibited and receiving a stolen firearm, and a single count of second-degree conspiracy.
If convicted as a habitual offender on both possession of a firearm by person prohibited counts, Mr. Dickerson is facing 30 years to life, the DOJ said.
No time to three years in prison for each receiving-a-stolen-firearm count is possible with conviction, and a guilty finding as a habitual offender on two counts could bring no incarceration to two life terms, the DOJ said.
According to the DOJ, a co-defendant said Mr. Dickerson and another co-defendant allegedly stole guns during a Maryland burglary, and he was paid $100 to take the firearms to an abandoned and condemned property in the 200 block of Fields Terrace in Middletown.
Middletown police investigated after a probation officer contacted them referencing information from a confidential informant regarding guns allegedly being kept in a shed, the DOJ said.
Officers found a loaded shotgun and loaded rifle during a search of the shed in June 2014, according to authorities.
Mr. Dickerson is not currently incarcerated, officials said. The trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in New Castle County Superior Court.
In the ongoing case regarding the interaction with Dover police Cpl. Thomas W. Webster IV on Aug. 24, 2013, Mr. Dickerson initially was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, theft under $1,500, third-degree conspiracy and third-degree assault; the AG’s office later dismissed all charges.
Mr. Dickerson suffered a broken jaw and other injuries after the alleged incident, police said.
Cpl. Webster was placed on administrative leave without pay by Dover Police after a Kent County grand jury returned an indictment on a felony second-degree assault count on May 4.
The ACLU of Delaware announced on Sept. 29, 2014, that it had filed a civil lawsuit against Cpl. Webster and the city of Dover on behalf of Mr. Dickerson regarding the alleged incident.
Other cases, convictions
• According to court documents, Mr. Dickerson has been involved in other cases against him, and found guilty on Jan. 14, 2015, to disregarding a police signal, driving under the influence, and driving while license is suspended or revoked. He received one year probation, which remains in effect.
In that case, the state chose not to further prosecute four counts of possession of firearm/ammunition by person prohibited and one count each of carrying a concealed deadly weapon, receiving a stolen firearm, second-degree conspiracy, intoxicated with firearm, invalid/expired registration plate and a temporary tag charge.
In a news release following the July 14, 2014, arrest, the Dover Police Department alleged that two loaded firearms were located in a vehicle that an intoxicated Mr. Dickerson was driving with three passengers. One was a .38 caliber Taurus revolver reported stolen to the Delaware State Police, Dover Police said, the other a 9mm Ruger.
• On Feb. 7, 2013, Mr. Dickerson was found guilty of resisting arrest, while charges of criminal impersonation, possession of a controlled substance with an aggravating factor, possession of marijuana with an aggravating factor, second-degree criminal trespassing and third-degree assault, were not further prosecuted, and a possession of drug paraphernalia count was dismissed. It also was verified Mr. Dickerson was in violation of his probation.
• On June 5, 2006, Mr. Dickerson was found guilty of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, along with a violation of probation. A civil contempt count was judged guilty on Oct. 17, 2012.
Charges not further prosecuted included use of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree conspiracy, among others.
• On March 28, 2003, Mr. Dickerson was convicted of a first-degree reckless endangering count, while three other counts were not further prosecuted. The state also chose not to not prosecute two first-degree assault charges, and one count each of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a weapon in a school zone and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
Mr. Dickerson was found to be in violation of probation. Court papers said he was found guilty of civil contempt on March 17, 2010.