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Maryland state police commission to discuss qualifications of Greensboro officer who arrested Anton Black

State officials plan to privately discuss Wednesday whether to proceed with an investigation into the hiring of a Greensboro police officer involved in the arrest and death of Anton Black.

The Police Training and Standards Commission will discuss the matter during its routine meeting Wednesday morning in Sykesville. State officials had learned personnel records — including those documenting “use of force” — were omitted from the hiring application that Greensboro police sent to the state for Webster to be certified as an officer in Maryland.

Coverage of the in-custody death of Anton Black »

Black, 19, died in police custody last year in the small Eastern Shore town.

Wednesday’s closed-door discussion is a preliminary step for the commission to decide if it should conduct a hearing to consider revoking the police certification of Officer Thomas Webster IV. Any such hearing would be at least a month away, said Renata Seergae, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services.

Webster had approached the teen in September after a report of a kidnapping. Body-camera footage shows Webster commanding Black to put his hands behind him, but the teen fled. Webster and two other officers chased Black to his parents’ home, where the teen got into a parked car, the footage shows. Webster uses his baton to break the car’s window and reaches in to shock Black with a Taser.

After a struggle, the officers force Black to the ground on a ramp outside his family’s home. Black shows signs of medical distress, and he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Medical examiners determined his death to be an accident, the result of “sudden cardiac death.” The autopsy says the struggle contributed to Black’s death. It notes an underlying heart condition and a mental illness were also factors.

Webster was placed on administrative during an investigation of the arrest.

The controversial encounter also brought attention to Webster and his past as a police officer in Delaware.

State officials learned some of his personnel records were omitted from the hiring application sent by Greensboro police officials to the public safety department.

Webster had been indicted on second-degree assault charges while working as an officer in Delaware. Dash-cam footage from that incident shows Webster kicking a black man in the head during a 2013 arrest. Webster was later found not guilty, according to news reports, and resigned with a $230,000 severance package.

These records were not included in the application sent to state authorities for review, though officials say it’s unclear whether the Greensboro Police withheld the information or if they were unaware.

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