Activists calling for arrest of officer who banged man’s head against wall

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“Lets get real here. This ain’t about the incident. No, it’s about the police officer. Going about the arrest the wrong way with his hands first.” Said Ty Brown, family spokesman. “Violence, assault, and beating his head as you saw it. That’s unjustified.”

WILMINGTON (DE0 BY GEORGE SHEA: After a police officer was seen on video banging a man’s head against a wall in a city corner store, activists are demanding that the officer be arrested and Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey to step down.

At a press conference held Monday October 4, 2021 in Wilmington, NAACP President Richard Smith said, “today, we are calling on the policeman to be arrested.” Smith continued saying, “We know the mayor has a tough job. We know the chief got a tough job. But when a person is out of control, they are out of control and you need to get rid of them before they hurt somebody in our community.”

“When you see somebody…a cop grab somebody by the head, and just take it, and slam his head, that ain’t no cop. That’s a thug just like they say about us.” Smith said.

Photo by George Shea, Delaware Newsline | After a police officer was seen on video banging a man’s head against a wall in a city corner store, activists are demanding that the officer be arrested and Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey to step down. (Photo Inset: Richard Smith, NAACP President)

The incident Smith is referring to occurred on September 21, 2021, between a black man and a white Wilmington police officer in a Southbridge corner store. Get the story here

“We deserve action and we deserve accountability and we as a community deserve it right now,” Said Coby Owens, NAACP Executive Committee.

Photo by George Shea, Delaware Newsline | After a police officer was seen on video banging a man’s head against a wall in a city corner store, activists are demanding that the officer be arrested and Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey to step down. (Photo Inset: Coby Owens, Exec Comm NAACP)

When Delaware Newsline learned about the incident, a reporter reached out to Wilmington Police. Dave Karas, Wilmington Police’s Director of Communication responded with a statement via email and explaining that “On Tuesday, September 21 at approximately 10:25 a.m., police received a call from a daycare facility in reference to a male subject who had been repeatedly harassing employees.”

Karas said, “Police were advised that the same subject had been at the location on several occasions, and that his conduct escalated to include screaming and making sexual comments towards staff, including in the presence of children.”

“A patrol officer responded to investigate, and observed the suspect – 44-year-old Dwayne Brown – enter a business in the 500 block of New Castle Avenue.,” Karas said. “Brown was taken into custody, and was also found to be in violation of a no-contact order. He was charged with Harassment (Two Counts), Resisting Arrest, Breach of Release, and Possession of Marijuana.”

According to court documents, Brown was arraigned in the New Castle County Court of Common Pleas and released on $4,100 unsecured bail.

“We’re not talking about once they dragged him out of the store, and got him on the pavement and took his head and stuff and slammed him against the door. Where’s the body cam showing that? Where’s the body cameras?,” Smith said.

The video first came to light from DETV producer, Ivan Thomas, who said, “I need an explanation! The community needs an explanation! While this hits home, this is so disturbing to me. This is one of my childhood best friends in a corner store in South Bridge in #wilmingtondelaware, my old neighborhood. As I support the Wilmington Police I also support the people in my community. Today I need answers, today the community needs answers because this is just wrong.”

The video which was shared on social media, was captured on a security camera at the 3C’s Food Market in Southbridge where the incident allegedly occurred.

 

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Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki called the video “deeply concerning,” echoing the sentiment expressed by Dave Karas at the time the incident first came to light.

“And, you know, I’d like to say so much more about these events like this, but we’re constrained,” Purzycki said. “There’s due process that everybody’s entitled to; we want to respect all the parties involved, and I’ll have much more to say at the appropriate time.”

“Now’s the time for the mayor to step to the front and do what he’s supposed to do. Change the police Department, Change the leadership, come to the table. Listen to the NAACP, listen to Black Lives Matter, listen to these young folks now beginning to come to the NAACP and join force. Listen to us. We have a plan. Listen to our plan.” Said Smith.

The officer, who was not identified, is a 3-Year veteran of the Wilmington Police Department’s patrol division. He is now on administrative duty pending the outcome of the internal investigation that is being led by the Office of Professional Standards., according to an official familiar with the matter.

Delaware Newsline learned who the officer was through a confidential source but cannot release his name in this story because the officers identity has not been confirmed by Wilmington Police. When pressed for more information, Karas said, “Due to our ongoing investigation into this matter, we are not able to release anything beyond what we have already shared publicly.”

Karas added, “Our internal investigation remains underway and we will provide updates to the public as soon as we are able.”

“At some point we need to have accountability. At some point we got to show that we are not going to continue to allow people to come into our neighborhoods and treat us any kind of way and nothing happens.,” Said Ron Haines, a NAACP member.

Photo by George Shea, Delaware Newsline | After a police officer was seen on video banging a man’s head against a wall in a city corner store, activists are demanding that the officer be arrested and Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey to step down. (Photo Inset: Ron Haines, NAACP member)

“Lets get real here. This ain’t about the incident. No, it’s about the police officer. Going about the arrest the wrong way with his hands first.” Said Ty Brown, family spokesman. “Violence, assault, and beating his head as you saw it. That’s unjustified.”

Photo by George Shea, Delaware Newsline | After a police officer was seen on video banging a man’s head against a wall in a city corner store, activists are demanding that the officer be arrested and Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey to step down. (Photo Inset: Ty Brown, Family Spokesperson)

According to Brown’s civil rights attorney, Thomas Crumplar, his law firm intends to file a civil rights suit near the end of the month.

“We intend to file a civil rights suit under the 14th amendment. Um, because we feel the force here was not only excessive, but was also a violation of Dwaine Brown’s constitutional rights.” Said Thomas Crumplar, attorney representing Dwayne Brown. 

Photo by George Shea, Delaware Newsline | After a police officer was seen on video banging a man’s head against a wall in a city corner store, activists are demanding that the officer be arrested and Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey to step down. (Photo Inset: Thomas Crumplar, Attorney)

In addition to NAACP calls to Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracey, Wilmington City Council President ‘s call for transparency and urgency has also gone unanswered according to Wilmington City Council.

On Tuesday, September 28th Wilmington City Council President Trippi Congo issued a letter to Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy calling on his department to release any body camera footage, audio and related 911 calls surrounding the incident in the convenience store on the 500 block of New Castle Ave.

As of this morning there has been no official response from Chief Tracy. While President Congo respects the right of due process, it is hard to believe our law enforcement officials have not already reviewed the pertinent footage and audio. Many members of City Council understand the importance of communicating with residents on this matter and believe an immediate and transparent process is necessary and hope our law enforcement leaders understand that as well.

“We cannot continue to drag this matter out. The reality is, the longer we delay this process the more frustrated our residents will be. This is not a matter of whether Mr. Brown had a previous criminal history. This has to do with the use of force exhibited by the Wilmington police officer and the repeated assault against Mr. Brown” said President Congo.

Earlier this year Chief Tracy stated all officers have been equipped with body cameras and trained on the policy pertaining to them. President Congo, along with city council members and the public, want to know if the officer in question activated his body camera before engaging with Mr. Brown, which is one of the policies presented by Chief Tracy.

“If we paying taxes, black folks demand justice. Black folks have never had justice in this city.” Smith said.

George Shea is a Delaware Newsline Digital Broadcast Journalist and has an emphasis on crime and social justice. Contact him at gshea@delawarenewsline.com. Follow him on Twitter @denewsline. Like and follow Delaware Newsline on Facebook to get the latest stories.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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