On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that two former Arkansas officers had been charged with civil rights violations after a video of a violent arrest was shared on social media.
During an arrest on August 21, former Crawford County sheriff’s deputies Zack King and Levi White are accused of beating Randal Worcester repeatedly while he was on the ground. They face charges of using excessive force.
The arrest was recorded on cellphone video by a bystander.
In an initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon, the two former deputies pleaded not guilty to the indictment. Their attorney, Russell Woods, said his clients deny the allegations.
The third officer seen in the video, Thell Riddle, was not charged. In October, King and White were fired by Jimmy Damante, the former sheriff of Crawford County.
According to Damante, Worcester, 27, was being questioned for threatening a clerk in a nearby convenience store and attacking a deputy. The deputy suffered a concussion, Damante said.
Following the video’s release, the three officers were placed on administrative leave, and state and federal authorities opened investigations, and the case is still ongoing.
In a federal lawsuit, Randal Worcester accused the police and local authorities of violating his constitutional rights during the arrest.
Attorney Rachel Bussett for Worcester expressed relief that the two officers had been taken into custody.
“Now they’re just going to have to go through the court process,” Bassett said.
According to policing experts, the video raises red flags about the officers’ actions, stating that blows to the head amount to potentially deadly use of force.
Following his treatment at the hospital, Worcester was arrested on charges of second-degree battery and resisting arrest. He was released on a $15,000 bond the following day. Worcester’s lawsuit claims he will require medical treatment for the rest of his life.
White and King were released on bond on Tuesday. Both men are scheduled to appear in court on April 3.