GREENSBORO, Md. (WJZ) — An Eastern Shore police officer involved in the death of a 19-year-old African-American man has lost his police certification.
The Greensboro Police chief confirmed that Thomas Webster IV is no longer on the force. Webster was one of the officers who arrested and handcuffed Anton Black before Black became unresponsive and died.
The new chief of police said that he placed Webster on administrative leave when he took office in March. Just a few weeks ago, on July 26- he was notified by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission that the officer had been decertified.
In early September 2018, Officer Thomas Webster IV confronted 19-year-old Anton Black after getting a 911 call for a possible abduction.
Webster chased Anton back to his mother’s house.
“Put your hands behind your back,” The body camera video showed Webster saying.
The video showed Anton hiding in his dad’s car when the officer broke the car window.
“I’m tasing him,”
He then used a taser on Anton.
After a struggle with Webster and two off-duty police officers, Anton became unresponsive, stopped breathing and that’s when officers began CPR.
“Where’s the ambulance,” The video footage showed them saying.
Anton later died in the hospital.
The autopsy called the death accidental- the result of a heart condition and stress from the arrest.
Anton’s family said he suffered from a mental illness and that officers used excessive force.
For months, the city of Greensboro and attorney Rene Swafford have been petitioning the mayor and City Council to remove Webster from the department, citing his “history of insensitivity and brutality,”
“People from the community came to me again in March and asked again, will they listen to us, will they hear our concerns?” Swafford said.
State officials said Webster failed to disclose nearly 30 uses of force reports from his police career in Dover, Delaware.
“This officer who has a history of excessive force when it comes to black and brown people won’t be able to move to another jurisdiction in Maryland and commit the same offenses.” Swafford said.
Greensboro’s newest police chief Eric Lee said he is using a holistic approach to policing and training his officers how to approach issues involving mental health- and other sensitive situations.
“All of my officers will be trained in what’s called Crisis Intervention training, 2 of them have, I have, and one of them is actually going this Monday.” Chief Eric Lee said.
Swafford has asked the Department of Justice to get involved in this case. She said she has not received a response yet, but that she continues to work to bring justice for Anton and his family.