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Excessive Force Shown on Video Leads to Calls for Arrest of Wilmington Officer


The September 21, 2021 arrest of Dwayne Brown at a store in Wilmington was caught on video, and that clip, now viral, has brought fury against the arresting officer, including calls by civil rights groups for his arrest.

In the moments before the 44-year-old man’s arrest, spurred reportedly because of complaints that he made sexually harassing statements to workers at a child care center near the store, Brown is first seen on surveillance camera entering the store holding the door open for a man on crutches, then is seen speaking to someone. Brown is then grabbed by the wrist by the as-yet unnamed Wilmington police officer and body-slammed into a plexiglass wall. The video then shows the arresting officer following up the body slam by grabbing Brown’s head and smacking it into the plexiglass wall, twice. Then both men disappear from view in the 52-second video clip.

Attorneys Thomas C. Crumplar of Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. are representing Brown in this civil rights case.

Following the September 21 arrest, Brown was charged with two counts of harassment, resisting arrest, breach of release, and possession of marijuana. He was released on $4,100 unsecured bail.

The violent arrest has inspired civil rights activists to call for the officer’s arrest, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) asked for the resignation of Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy and a federal investigation of the police department.

At the October 4 rally in support of Brown, Thomas Crumplar pointed out that the arrest occurred six years after his former client Jeremy McDole was fatally shot by four Wilmington police officers.

As part of the settlement the city promised to continually review and update their training procedures, Crumplar noted at the rally.

“That means that this officer became a police officer while the city of Wilmington was supposedly having a new, state-of-the-art training to de-escalate,” Crumplar said at the widely televised protest. “But instead, we saw an officer in the video that reminds us of somebody 100 years ago, like Bull Connor in Birmingham, Alabama.”

Bull Connor was an Alabama politician who strongly opposed the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. As Birmingham’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Connor famously ordered the police to stay away in April 1963 as civil rights leader Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Council headed into Birmingham on the Freedom Rides and were attacked by waiting hordes of Klu Klux Klansmen. Connor also ordered police dogs released and fire hoses directed at children who were protesting in Birmingham on May 2, 1963, leading to the arrests of over 1,200 children, and the arrests of 3,000 more protesters the following day. Connor’s brutal tactics are credited with focusing national attention on desegregation efforts.

The Wilmington Fraternal Order of Police and Mayor Michael S. Purzycki’s office both issued statements saying that they would withhold comment until the investigation into the incident is complete.

The Dwayne Brown matter is another in a long line of cases where Jacobs and Crumplar have represented clients who have been injured by excessive force and unlawful actions of security personnel ranging from private security, bar bouncers, correctional officers, and various police forces. Besides the Brown case, Jacobs & Crumplar’s attorneys are currently handling two other cases of excessive force by Police Officers. Patrick Gallagher are representing the Estate of Kelly Rooks as well as Geraldine Rooks for claims of assault, battery, and excessive force by a Delaware State Police officer.  Patrick Gallagher and Alexis Stombaugh, along with co-counsel, are representing Mark Taylor for claims of, among other things, excessive force against Gregory Lynch, Jr., of Milford and the Town of Dewey Beach.

At Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., we help clients facing a variety of legal issues. If you need help with a legal matter, call 302-600-1935 or complete an online form to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.