Officer Gregory Lynch, Jr., "climbed onto the stretcher and repeatedly punched [the victim] in the face."
UPDATE, Nov. 21: Two Dewey Beach commissioners responded to emailed requests for comment on the indictment.
Sussex Living asked: "When were you made aware of this incident? Is Lynch still employed by the police department? If not, when was he removed? Are there any plans to address police misconduct within the Dewey Beach Police Department in the future?"
Their responses are below, unedited and in full.
Mayor TJ Redefer: "This matter is in the hands of the Department of Justice. The officers employment has been suspended without pay. The Town of Dewey Beach has no further comments."
Commissioner David Moskowitz: "The Commissioners did not learn about the alleged August 10th incident until November 15. Mayor Redefer & the Town Manager need to answer when they first knew and what was done, if anything, in that three month period. Town Management has previously attempted to delay the police consultant and auditor’s bad management letter from Commissioners and the public. For such serious potential liability, how could this be kept from the Commissioners and the voters of Dewey Beach [sic]?"
Nov. 19: Dewey Beach Police Department Officer Gregory Lynch, Jr., has been indicted by the Delaware Department of Justice on charges of assault, perjury and official misconduct.
Special Investigator John Ziemba, of the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, led the investigation. Ziemba is a 20-year-old veteran of the New Castle County Police Department. For the investigation, he interviewed four Dewey Beach police officers, two Rehoboth Beach EMTs and three civilians that were on scene at the time of the incident.
The incident occurred on Aug. 10, 2019, when police and EMTs were dispatched to the area of Coastal Highway and Bellevue Road to assist a 26-year-old male victim. The victim was intoxicated and had lost consciousness after hitting the back of his head on a pole. The victim had sat down on the EMTs' stretcher but kept one foot on the ground, stating that he did not want to go to the hospital.
As first responders and witnesses tried to convince the victim to lie down, Lynch allegedly grabbed the victim’s leg and put it on the stretcher. When the victim sat up on the stretcher, Lynch allegedly pushed him back down, climbed onto the stretcher and repeatedly punched him in the face, about five times. Lynch's actions caused the stretcher to rise off the ground and required others to hold the it down to prevent it from flipping over.
According to the Department of Justice, Lynch then handcuffed the victim to the stretcher and pulled him into an ambulance by his neck. The victim was later treated at Beebe Medical Center and diagnosed with a concussion, a broken nose, multiple hematomas and lacerations to his face.
Lynch later claimed in a sworn affidavit that the victim had committed strangulation and two counts of offensive touching of a law enforcement officer, but those claims were contradicted by witness statements. Witnesses at the scene attested that the victim put his hands up in an attempt to protect his face, but did not put his hands around Lynch’s throat, as Lynch had claimed in a sworn affidavit.
According to court documents, "The officers on scene advised that they did not get involved in the physical assault of the victim, because they did not feel that the assault was justified."
Due in part to Lynch's claims, the victim was arrested and jailed upon his discharge from the hospital.
Lynch, a Milford resident, is charged with second-degree assault, second-degree perjury and official misconduct. He turned himself in on Tuesday, Nov. 19, and was released on his own recognizance.