A former Wilmington police officer has been indicted on excessive force charges after he was caught on video slamming a man’s head into a plexiglass panel during an arrest in September.
Former police officer Samuel Waters, 27, has been accused of felony counts of perjury and tampering with public records, along with misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault, official misconduct, and falsifying a business record in connection with two separate incidents that took place in September. He faces up to 13 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
The first incident related to Waters’ indictment occurred during a domestic violence call in September. During the arrest, Waters allegedly pressed his nightstick against the back of a man’s neck while another officer tried to handcuff him. Prosecutors said the suspect was bent over the back of a vehicle with his hands behind his back and was not being combative or violent with the arresting officers.
Nine days later, on Sept. 21, Waters confronted Dwayne Brown at a convenience store in south Wilmington after police received a call from a nearby day care facility saying a man had repeatedly harassed employees. Police were told the man had been in the day care several times, yelling and making sexual comments to the staff.
Surveillance cameras inside the store show Waters approach Brown and briefly speaking to him, before grabbing his arm, and slamming his head into a plexiglass panel two times before they both fall on the floor.
Waters was fired from the police department effective Jan. 5.
Brown has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Waters, whose attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss.
According to the lawsuit, Brown was not being “combative, physically aggressive, actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.”
The suit also claims Waters never identified himself as a police officer and that he did not give a warning that use of force would be used as the department directive requires.
According to the lawsuit, Brown was taken outside the store where Waters continued to use excessive force. During this time, Brown feared he would end up being killed, according to the lawsuit.
Brown’s lawsuit also accused Waters of using the “N-word” during the arrest. Brown, who is Black, also charged that Waters, who is white, has a history of “inappropriate behavior in dealing with other members of the Black community. He is widely known and feared as a bully.”
“The evidence in this case shows a clear and disturbing pattern of violence and deception,” Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a statement Monday. “The defendant repeatedly abused a position of trust and authority and then subsequently lied about it.
“We don’t tolerate this kind of misconduct by anyone – let alone from someone who swore an oath to protect his community – and we will prosecute his crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”