Bodycam released after ex-officer Samuel Waters was found guilty on 4 crimes in excessive force case

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A former Wilmington police officer has been convicted of four crimes, including a felony, for an excessive force incident that took place in September 2021.

A New Castle County jury found Samuel Waters guilty Monday of felony Tampering With Public Records 1st Degree, Falsifying Business Records, Assault 3rd Degree, and Official Misconduct. This is the first conviction at trial in a police use of force case during Attorney General Kathy Jennings’ tenure. Two other officers have previously pleaded guilty in excessive force cases.

“Justice was served today,” said Attorney General Jennings. “This case wasn’t just about one video or one arrest. It was about a defendant who clearly abused his authority through egregious, unnecessary violence — and who subsequently tried to cover up his actions by lying about them. His crimes undermined public trust in law enforcement, disrespected the community he swore to protect, and broke the law. The jury saw that — and now he will face the consequences of his actions. I’m grateful to our team at DCRPT for their professionalism in this investigation and for the excellent work they did at trial.”

The Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust (DCRPT) first opened its investigation into Samuel Waters after discovering footage of a September 21, 2021 incident in which he repeatedly forced a man’s head against a plexiglass window, causing lacerations and bruising. The incident came to DCRPT’s attention after surveillance video of the arrest went viral.

Wilmington PD supervisors and investigators informed DCRPT that Waters had failed to turn his body worn camera on when he should have (and regularly failed to do so), that he had lied in official doentation of the incident, and that just 9 days prior he was involved in another excessive force incident wherein he used his nightstick to repeatedly apply downward pressure on the back of a victim’s neck, pushing their face into the back of a vehicle and causing injuries. WPD’s Use of Force instructor informed DCRPT that the force Waters employed was against policy and inconsistent with how WPD officers are trained.

Waters will be sentenced by a Superior Court judge later this summer and faces a potential sentence of 0 to 8 years in prison. Deputy Attorney General David Skoranski secured Waters’ conviction following an investigation by DCRPT Investigator Millard Greer.

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