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Petyo convicted of misconduct as Greensboro police chief

Esteban Parra
Delaware News Journal
Milford Beacon
Milford Beacon

A former Maryland police chief, now working in Delaware, pleaded guilty to intentionally misrepresenting and omitting facts to a Maryland commission tasked with reviewing the employment application of ex-Dover officer Thomas Webster IV.

Based on what Greensboro Police Chief Michael Petyo submitted to the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission in 2018, Webster was certified as a Maryland officer and the town of Greensboro hired him.

Webster was captured on a dashcam in 2013 kicking a subdued man in the face. Although the commission was aware that Webster had been acquitted of the 2013 assault charge, the agency did not know about 29 use-of-force reports in Webster’s file during the roughly 10 years he worked for Dover.

Any agency in Maryland hiring a police officer from another state is required to provide that officer’s application of certification, which includes the individual’s full background. A Maryland public safety spokesman said they were not aware of those incidents until 19-year-old Anton Black died after being arrested by Webster and two off-duty officers in September 2018 following a brief chase.

Black’s autopsy concluded there was no evidence his death was caused by his being detained by Webster and the other officers.

But news reports at that time brought up Webster’s history in Dover, which reached Maryland officials. “We did not know of them until a recent media report,” a Maryland public safety spokesman told The News Journal last year.

Documents unsealed by Superior Court show 29 use of force complaints against Webster, charged with second-degree assault in the 2013 arrest caught on a police dashboard camera.

Webster was removed from Greensboro street duty in January 2019 when Maryland State Police launched an investigation into Black’s death. In August, Greensboro confirmed Webster was no longer an officer in the Eastern Shore town.

Petyo comes to Camden

Petyo left Greensboro last year to become a police lieutenant in Camden, Delaware. He was placed on administrative leave in November shortly after Maryland prosecutors charged him with misconduct in his previous law enforcement job in that state.

He remains on paid administrative leave, Camden Police Chief Marcus Whitney told The News Journal Tuesday.

Following last year’s charges against Petyo, Whitney launched an internal investigation to make sure Camden Police Department’s policies and procedures were not violated.

“With the conclusion of their case, we’re now free to proceed and finalize our internal investigation,” Whitney said.

Maryland did not have an ongoing investigation when Petyo applied to be an officer in the Camden Police Department.

After his plea Jan. 17, Petyo was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended, with three years on probation.

“Honest and thorough reporting to the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission is an essential responsibility of police chiefs throughout the State of Maryland to ensure that individuals who apply for certification, and are consequently employed as law enforcement officers, are properly screened and evaluated,” Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard said in a statement.

A Costly Record: Past Coverage

Lateef Dickerson, who was kicked by Webster in an arrest, was paid a $300,000 settlement.

Webster received a $230,000 in a deal where he resigned from the Dover police department.

Webster removed from Greensboro force: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2019/08/02/former-dover-officer-removed-greensboro-police-staff/1903657001