Assault charge dismissed against Bethany officer

September 3, 2013

A Bethany Beach police officer was acquitted of a criminal charge involving the assault of a suspect in custody.

Sussex County Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley released Bethany Beach Police Lt. Richard Haden, from one count of third-degree assault, Aug. 28.

A Sussex County Grand Jury had indicted Haden for the alleged assault of a suspect on March 3 while the suspect was in custody at police headquarters, said Jason Miller, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office.

Haden turned himself in to Capital Police April 22.

Miller said during an Aug. 28 trial in Sussex County Superior Court, Haden’s attorneys moved for judgment of acquittal; attorneys for the state argued the burden of proof had been met for third-degree assault.

The state argued if the court found it had not met the burden of proof, then the charge against Haden should be amended to the lesser included offense of offensive touching and proceed to the jury on that charge, Miller said.  “The court dismissed the case and would not allow the state to proceed on the lesser charge,” he said.

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