CRAWFORD CO. Ark. – A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday over the Crawford County arrest shown in a viral video during which a man was apparently beaten by deputies and an officer.
The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas claims Officer Thell Riddle of the Mulberry Police Department, Deputy Zack King and Deputy Levi White of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office violated the rights of Randal Worcester during his arrest.
The suit names Riddle, King and White as defendants, along with Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory, the city of Mulberry, Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante and his office.
Video of the Aug. 21 arrest of Worcester taken by a passer-by showed Worcester being held on the ground by White, King and Riddle and White and King hitting and kicking Worcester.
The video went viral, bringing swift condemnation and accusations of excessive force being used by law enforcement officers.
Worcester was booked into the Crawford County Detention Center on the day of the arrest but released one day later.
The lawsuit was filed by Fort Smith attorneys David Powell and Adam Rose of the Law Offices of David Powell.
“We filed this because it is a violation of our client’s civil rights,” Rose said, adding that Worcester was never read his Miranda rights during the arrest.
The lawsuit alleges in the arrest Worcester’s 4th and 14th amendment rights were violated. Also alleged is use of excessive force, battery and assault, and negligence.
In the Factual Allegations portion of the suit, it states: “Despite Mr. Worcester being detained, the Defendant Officers continued to repeatedly punch, kick, and knee Mr. Worcester in the face, head, back, stomach and legs. At one point, Defendant White picked up Mr. Worcester by the head and slammed his face and head into the concrete pavement.”
Rose said Worcester suffered “serious brain injury” during the arrest and is in the process of recovering, currently staying with relatives in Oklahoma.
The lawsuit requests a jury trial and that Worcester receive punitive and compensatory damages.
Rose said that attorney Carrie Jernigan, who had been a visible presence since Worcester’s arrest, will be joining him and Powell in the lawsuit later.
On Aug. 23 Jernigan and Powell held a news conference for two clients who they stated had been subject to excessive force by Crawford County deputy Levi White, one of the parties named in today’s filing.
The officer and two deputies are on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated, both by Arkansas State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.