Three former Arkansas Juvenile Detention officers indicted for conspiracy to assault juvenile detainees

BATESVILLE, Tenn. –Three former White River Juvenile Detention Center officers have been indicted by a grand jury and charged with conspiracy to assault juvenile inmates.

The White River Juvenile Detention Center is located in Batesville, Arkansas.

The seven-count indictment charges Will Ray, Thomas Farris and Jason Benton with assaulting juvenile detainees.

According to the indictment, the officers used pepper spray on the juveniles and then, instead of decontaminating them, shut them in their cells to “let them cook”.

“Corrections officers who use excessive force against inmates in their custody violate the Constitution,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“While all such violations are intolerable, the assaults here, committed against juveniles who were not resisting, are particularly reprehensible. The Justice Department is committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting officers who break the public trust in this way.”

“Correction officers who violate the civil rights of others can expect to, and will be, prosecuted,” acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Patrick C. Harris said.

Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch with the Little Rock FBI Field Office says they will be “steadfast” in their investigation and punishment for those responsible.

This case is still being investigated by the FBI’s Little Rock Field Division.

It is also being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Peters of the Eastern District of Arkansas and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division.