Trooper Dempsey Walters, 29, captured himself on his own body cam video allegedly assaulting a 17-year-old boy – by forcing him down onto the ground – and a 15-year-old boy – by kneeling on his neck and punching him in the face.
The incident left the 15-year-old with a fractured eye socket.
The Delaware District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Mr Walters has now been charged with deprivation of civil rights, several counts of assault and two counts of official misconduct over the incident.
According to authorities, the trooper got into a verbal altercation with the 17-year-old boy back on 17 August while he was off duty at his home in Lancaster Village, Elsmere.
During that incident, he didn’t arrest the teen but did call officers to escort the boy back to his home.
Officials claim that, after that incident, Mr Walters looked up the boy on the DELJIS police database.
Four days later on 21 August, Mr Walters was back on duty when the 15-year-old boy and three other friends decided to play a “ding dong dash” prank on his house, the AG’s office said.
In a video provided by the AG’s office, a boy is seen covering his face and kicking the door before sprinting off again.
Mr Walters’ girlfriend, who was in the house at the time, called him up to provide a description of the teens.
Mr Walters then allegedly called other officers to assist in looking for the teens.
After that, witnesses told Mr Walter that they saw two teenagers run down Taft Avenue, where the 17-year-old boy lives.
In bodycam footage, Mr Walters is seen approaching the house with other officers, grabbing the teen from his door before he “forced him on the ground, causing injuries”.
In the video, Mr Walters is heard saying: “You are under arrest”, to which the teen replies, asking “For what?”.
No official arrest was ever made of the 17-year-old boy.
Mr Walters’ body cam footage caught him pressuring the 15-year-old boys neck before hitting him in the eye— (DelawareDOJ/YouTube)
Mr Walters then allegedly got wind that the 15-year-old who pulled the prank on his house had been found and detained by other officers.
The trooper drove to that location and “almost immediately upon arriving, Walters dropped his knee onto the back of Victim Two’s [the 15-year-old] neck/head, causing injury and causing Victim Two to scream in distress”, prosecutors said.
After the teen was moved to the back of a police vehicle, Mr Walters then attempted to turn off his body camera.
However, the camera kept recording and captured the officer walking to the back of the car and appearing to punch the teenager in the face, fracturing his right eye socket.
Delaware State Police supervisors referred the incident to the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust, who then suspended Mr Walters without pay.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in the press release: “As a mother and grandmother, the footage in this case is hard to watch. As a prosecutor, the constitutional violations are stunning.
“Over the course of the evening, the Defendant chose to extract his own form of personal justice by embarking on a violent rampage, assaulting two defenceless minors, and attempting to conceal his misconduct. He will now face criminal consequences for his actions.”
The trooper reportedly turned himself in to face charges on Tuesday afternoon.
In court, Mr Walters waived the reading of the indictment and pleaded not guilty, according to court dockets.
He was released after posting $29,000 bail.
AG Jennings said the indictment marks the first time that the deprivation of civil rights charge has been used since it came into law in the state earlier this year. It comes with a mandatory two-year prison term.