A group of about 30 people held a peaceful march at Dover City Hall and the Dover Police station in protest of the Sept. 11 arrest of Antonio Barlow.
A group of family members of Antonio Barlow, a 30-year-old Dover man taken into custody Sept. 11, gathered the afternoon of Sept. 17 to protest his arrest and what they say was improper subsequent treatment by Dover Police.
Approximately 30 people, some carrying signs that said, "No Justice, No Peace" and "We Fall Down But We Get Up," marched peacefully, first in front of Dover Police headquarters and then at Dover City Hall.
The march was necessary, said family member Deatres Barlow, because the incident shows Dover Police, "have it out for the Barlow family."
"All we want is justice," she said. "We just want to be treated like human beings."
Other than officers going about their business at the station, there was no open police presence at either location.
Antonio Barlow was arrested at 10:25 p.m. Sept. 11 after police were called to the area of South Queen and West Reed streets, according to documents released by Justice of the Peace Court 7, Dover.
When police arrived, the report said Barlow ran away, "in an attempt to evade arrest." Police spokesman Capt. Timothy Stump, in a Sept. 16 press release, said Barlow was apprehended after officers used a Taser device on him.
A search of his person turned up 0.7 grams of crack cocaine, according to the court papers.
Barlow admitted to reporters he had had a series of run-ins with law enforcement, but said he was trying to live a clean life. He fled out of a fear others in the drug trade may want revenge against him for attempting to put his past behind him, he said.
Barlow also said he ran away from a fear of getting shot because he didn't comprehend at first the men jumping out of an unmarked car were police officers.
"When they pulled up, I took off running," he said.
Dover Police Chief James E. Hosfelt Jr., who had granted a protest permit for the group the day before, did not agree with Barlow's assertions.
Police were dispatched that evening because of a call about someone in the neighborhood who had a handgun, Hosfelt said. Officers responded with the expectation they might encounter an armed individual with unknown intentions, he said.
Following standard procedure, one officer stationed himself on South Kirkwood Street, behind the area where the supposed gunman had been seen, Hosfelt said. That officer used his Taser weapon when Barlow ran onto Kirkwood, followed by the other pursuing officers.
Although officers found cocaine on Barlow – who said he had not been carrying the drug -- they did not find a weapon, Hosfelt said. It was later discovered the call to police headquarters had been about a different person, although the officers who arrested Barlow had no way of knowing that, Hosfelt said.
Barlow, who came to the protest with open wounds on his head, lip and both arms as well as a bandaged wound on his left shoulder, said he had been beaten and dragged along the street after being stunned by the Taser. He also has internal wounds, he said, including fractured sinuses and bleeding inside his skull.
Actually, Hosfelt said, the wounds were the result of Barlow hitting the ground while running, not from any physical assault.
"He went down head first and slid across Reed Street," Hosfelt said. Officers, still believing he might be armed, struggled to get Barlow's hands out from under his body before applying handcuffs, he said. They then called for medical assistance. Barlow first was admitted to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital, but later transferred to Christiana Medical Center.
"The entire incident was captured on one of our downtown security cameras," Hosfelt said. "If there are any allegations by anyone in the community the Dover Police beat this man, the videotape will clearly show this is not the case."
In his opinion, the four officers responding to the incident acted properly.
"My concern is for the safety of the community and for the safety of my officers," Hosfelt said.
The several blocks comprising Reed, Queen, Kirkwood, New, Cecil and Fulton streets have long been known as high crime areas. Most recently, a man was shot Sept. 9 on South New Street, there was an attempted robbery Aug. 31 on North New and Division streets and another robbery Aug. 27 near the same location.
On Aug. 27, police arrested a Dover man in the area of South Queen and Reed streets after shots had been heard in the area and after a surveillance camera showed someone had pointed an assault rifle at a passing Dover officer.
Bishop G.E. Gordon Sr. of the My Brethren Ministries Church and a member of the Dover chapter of the NAACP, said he intends to bring up Barlow's arrest to that organization.
He considered the incident "a heinous miscarriage of justice," although, he added, he had not read the police report.
Barlow, he said, had reason to be worried about his safety. Because of prior drug activity in the area of Queen and Reed streets, there had been talk of some sort of revenge shooting, he said.
Gordon said he will attend a Monday meeting with Hosfelt and Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr., to discuss the arrest, but added he'd also like to meet with the officers involved in the incident.
"If I talk to the officers, I believe we can find out what their thought processes were," he said.
Dover Human Relations Commission President Roy Sudler Jr. also was at the afternoon protest, but only as an observer. The commission won't be able to hear Barlow's case unless someone submits a request, he said.
Hosfelt said the department's Internal Affairs office also will investigate, once a formal complaint is filed.