On Tuesday, Nov. 12, a Delaware Council on Police Training trial board, based on the evidence presented, unanimously found Bethany Beach Police Lt. Richard Haden guilty on five of six charges lodged against him by the by Bethany Beach Police Department’s Internal Affairs Office.
The board comprised Delaware State Police Lt. Eric Hamm, Dover Police Department Lt. Jason Pires and New Castle Police Department Lt. Doug Merrill.
The hearing followed a criminal court trial in which Haden had been acquitted of third-degree assault charges, following an indictment by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office. The AG’s Office had filed the indictment after a review of internal police department video referred to the office by Bethany Beach Police Chief Mike Redmon that showed Haden and another officer interacting on March 3 with a 45-year-old man in BBPD custody on suspicion of drunk driving.
Haden was suspended from his job on March 4, with pay and benefits. However, following the indictment, he was suspended without pay or benefits.
On Aug. 28, Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley granted a defense motion filed by one of Haden’s attorneys, resulting in the granting of a Judgment of Acquittal. But Haden still faced the hearing on conduct-related charges within the BBPD.
During the daylong trial board hearing on Nov. 12, Haden faced six separate charges. He was found guilty by the trial board of use of non-lethal force, knowingly making a false official report related to his supplemental crime report and knowingly making a false official report related to his use-of-force report. Evidence for those three charges was found by the board to be substantiated.
Additionally, Haden pleaded guilty to the charge of engaging in a physical confrontation with a prisoner while wearing his duty weapon, as well as the charge of not wearing the authorized duty belt at the time of the incident.
The trial board found Haden not guilty of the charge of conduct unbecoming an officer.
An official written report of the trial board’s decision is to be released at a later date. According to Delaware Code, “Any decision, order or action taken following the hearing shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by findings of fact. The findings shall consist of a concise statement upon each issue in the case.”
For complete coverage of the Nov. 12 hearing, pick up a copy of the Nov. 15 edition of the Coastal Point.