City of Wilmington, Delaware

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A Trooper on suspension awaits potential prison time following a guilty plea to six charges, including two felonies.

April 15, 2024

Delaware’s Department of Justice has achieved significant convictions, including the state’s inaugural conviction for Deprivation of Civil Rights, against a Delaware State Trooper for assaulting two juvenile victims, announced Attorney General Kathy Jennings on Friday.

Dempsey Walters, aged 30, was indicted in September 2023 for assaulting two victims—a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, with the latter suffering a fractured orbital socket by Walters after he deactivated his body-worn camera. On April 12th, Walters pleaded guilty to Assault 2nd Degree and Deprivation of Civil Rights, both felonies, along with two counts of Assault 3rd Degree and two counts of Official Misconduct. The State will seek prison time as part of the plea.

Walters indictment – DSP MVR Screen Shot

Attorney General Jennings emphasized the necessity of the prison sentence due to the severity of Walters’ actions against the minors and his subsequent attempt to cover up his wrongdoing. Colonel Melissa Zebley, Superintendent of the Delaware State Police, commended the Department of Justice for its swift action and partnership during the investigation. Walters had been promptly suspended without pay and benefits following the incident.

The altercation occurred when Trooper Dempsey Walters encountered a 17-year-old minor (Victim One) during an off-duty confrontation. Walters later pursued and assaulted Victim One and a friend at their residence. Subsequently, Walters confronted a 15-year-old minor (Victim Two) in response to a prank, leading to another assault.

Walters’ misconduct was promptly reported, leading to his suspension and subsequent indictment. The Department of Justice, in collaboration with the victims’ families, has recommended an 18-month prison sentence for Walters.

This case marks the first application of Delaware’s Deprivation of Civil Rights statute, a significant legislative measure introduced in 2022 to address such offenses.