A Delaware State Police trooper has been indicted after an investigation into him “brutally beating” a 15-year-old boy who had pranked his home final month.
In a joint announcement Tuesday, the Delaware Division of Justice and Delaware State Police introduced felony fees in opposition to 29-year-old Dempsey R. Walters, who has been with the state police company for nearly seven years. He stays suspended with out pay or advantages, although has not been terminated.
Officers stated Walters was on responsibility when the incident occurred. He turned off his physique digicam through the assault, officers stated, however a program within the machine meant it was nonetheless capturing video. There was no audio.
Officers launched Walters’ body-cam video, exhibiting him strolling as much as the again of a Delaware State Police SUV that was holding the handcuffed boy. One other trooper backs out of the way in which as Walters strikes the boy within the face.
Walters then walks across the SUV till he once more involves the place the boy is being held and flashes a light-weight on the teen, who turns his physique to face the within the the car. Walters hits the button to show his physique digicam on, activating its audio.
“You positive about that?” Walters is heard saying.
“Please inform me what I did? Please inform me what I did?” the boy asks.
Walters was charged with second-degree assault, a felony; deprivation of civil rights, a felony; two counts of third-degree assault, misdemeanors; and two counts of official misconduct, additionally misdemeanors.
Legal professional Basic Kathy Jennings stated Tuesday that the person “selected to extract his personal type of private justice” by “embarking on a violent rampage.”
“As a mom and grandmother, the footage on this case is tough to look at,” Jennings stated Tuesday. “As a prosecutor, the constitutional violations are gorgeous.”
State Police Col. Melissa Zebley apologized to Walters’ victims on Tuesday, together with one who didn’t take part within the prank, and stated the company acknowledges “the gravity of the scenario.”
“We guarantee you all that we’re taking each potential step to forestall such issues from occurring sooner or later,” she stated.
What occurred to those teenagers?
Walters was off responsibility and on his method house on August 17 when he noticed a 17-year-old boy close to the doorway to his neighborhood in Elsmere, Delaware, in accordance with the indictment. Believing the boy was as much as wrongdoing, Walters confronted him inflicting a verbal altercation, courtroom paperwork say.
Walters known as Elsmere police, who picked up the teenager and took him to his house within the close by improvement of Lancaster Village.
The teenager was not charged, however the indictment says the next day Walters seemed up the teenager on the state’s regulation enforcement info database that accommodates addresses, pedigree and background info.
A number of days later, on August 21, a 15-year-old boy and his mates had been pranking houses in Elsmere by knocking on doorways, then operating away also called “ding-dong ditch.” About 8:30 p.m. that day, the 15-year-old kicked Walters’ door, startling the trooper’s girlfriend. She known as Walters, who was on responsibility.
Walters drove towards his house, calling Delaware State Police troopers and different police companies for help, the indictment stated. Police stated it was reported as an tried house invasion, prompting the deployment of the state police helicopter and varied Ok-9 models.
Whereas at his home, the indictment stated, Walters spoke to a witness who informed him a number of juveniles had run previous him and towards the road the place the 17-year-old boy from the sooner incident lived.
Walters and an officer from close by Newport went to the house of the 17-year-old boy and, at gunpoint, eliminated them from the home, in accordance with the indictment. The 17-year-old and his buddy had not been concerned within the ding-dong ditch prank.
The kids had been compelled to the bottom, the place one will be heard on physique digicam video saying “please assist me” and calling for his mother.
The teenager’s household stated they had been held in scorching police vehicles for hours earlier than they had been launched. The mom of the 17-year-old boy was informed it was all a “misunderstanding,” The Delaware Information Journal, a part of the USA TODAY Community, has beforehand reported.
“Some children had been over within the different neighborhood enjoying [ding-dong ditch] they usually hit a door that belonged to a state trooper police officer,” the mom stated an officer informed her. “Your son isn’t on the video. He has nothing to do with it.”
Her son was launched after being detained for about 4 hours with police not offering an incident report. She stated Walters had been knocking on doorways within the neighborhood and informed one of many neighbors that somebody had tried to interrupt into his house.
The indictment claims Walters left the scene after handcuffing the 17-year-old and went to the place one other trooper had detained the 15-year-old boy and his mates. The 15-year-old was face-down on the bottom being handcuffed when Walters arrived.
Walters then struck the 15-year-old behind the neck and head together with his knee, in accordance with the indictment.
With the 15-year-old’s fingers cuffed behind him, one other trooper took the boy to a state police SUV and was putting him within the rear passenger seat. That’s when the indictment stated Walters turned off his body-cam, walked to the police car and struck the boy’s face twice inflicting an orbital fracture.
One other black eye for the badge
Walters’ indictment provides to the rising listing of Delaware regulation officers who’ve been just lately charged with or convicted of crimes.
Delaware State Police trooper James D. Boyda was positioned on six-month probation after he pleaded responsible final yr to illegally utilizing a prison justice laptop system to search out New Jersey car info for a buddy.
Edwin Ramirez, a former Delaware State Police corporal, was indicted in 2021 in a fraudulent visitors warning scheme. He pleaded responsible to falsifying enterprise information and official misconduct in October and was sentenced to a yr of probation and 33 hours of group service — one hour for each false e-warning he filed.
A state police spokesperson stated the company will probably be trying to see if different officers violated insurance policies within the occasion for which Walters was indicted.
“When an incident involving the Delaware State Police happens, we observe a bifurcated course of,” Sgt. India Sturgis, a police spokesperson, informed The Delaware Information Journal. “Firstly, we prioritize the prison investigation as was introduced right this moment. The subsequent step within the course of is for DSP to determine any potential coverage violations dedicated by troopers on the scene.”
This text initially appeared on Delaware Information Journal: Delaware state trooper charged with assaulting teenagers enjoying pranks