US Marshals arrested both Levi White and Zachary King on Tuesday morning and transported them to the federal courthouse in Fort Smith — the conclusion of a months-long investigation into the August incident in which Mr White, Mr King, and Mulberry police officer Thell Riddle were seen beating Randal Worcester while he was on the ground.
A federal grand jury indicted both Mr White and Mr King, who were fired from their positions with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office in October. The two officers have denied the allegation.
In the video, Mr Worcester is seen pinned to the ground by three officers who take turns beating and kicking him. Police claimed that Mr Worcester had threatened an employee of the convenience store before riding his bicycle over to Mulberry and attacking a sheriff’s deputy.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — 2 Arkansas officers charged with civil rights violations in violent arrest of man outside store that was caught on video. pic.twitter.com/lxYJuWBYHc
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 24, 2023
But the FBI investigating the case and the grand jury ultimately impaneled felt that Mr White and Mr King had crossed a legal red line. They now stand charged for infringing on Mr Worcester’s constitutional right to be “free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.”
Mr White and Mr King’s lawyer Randal Wood rejected the charges on behalf of his clients.
“The allegations claimed in the indictment are not true,” Mr Wood said in a statement reported by 5News. “I look forward to our opportunity to tell what happened. We will have an opportunity to do this at the jury trial.”
Among the Arkansans they will be hoping to convince is the former governor Asa Hutchinson, who called the officers’ conduct “reprehensible” last year.
“Officers have to be able to follow that training and put it into practice,” Mr Hutchinson said.
Mr Worcester also filed a civil lawsuit against the officers, who now face a sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Both deputies are currently free on $5,000 bonds while awaiting trial, which will take place at the Fort Smith Federal Court beginning on April 3.