Two former Arkansas law enforcement officers have been charged after a graphic video of them beating an inmate went viral online, prosecutors said.
Former Crawformer County Sheriff’s Deputies Zack King and Levi White are charged with using excessive force in the Aug. 21 arrest of Randal Worcester in the town of Mulberry, the department said Tuesday. American Justice.
The two former MPs pleaded not guilty when they appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said they responded to Worcester, 27, who allegedly threatened an employee at a nearby convenience store, where he then allegedly attacked one of the deputies outside.
Video taken by a bystander shows an officer hitting the suspect with a clenched fist, while another can be seen hitting the man with his knee.
A third officer can be seen holding the suspect to the ground, as officers arrest Worcester.
No charges have been announced against another officer, Thell Riddle, who was also featured in the video.
All three officers were suspended after video of the violent arrest began circulating on the internet, prompting state and federal authorities to open investigations into the incident. King and White were fired in October.
If convicted, King and White each face up to 10 years behind bars.
A lawyer representing the two men denied the allegations.
Worcester has filed a federal lawsuit against officers and local officials, claiming they violated his constitutional rights during the arrest in August that left him in hospital to be treated for his injuries. He was later jailed for second-degree battery and resisting arrest, but was released the next day on $15,000 bond.
Rachel Bussett, a lawyer from Worcester, was relieved that the two men had been arrested. According to Bussett, Worcester has permanent injuries and will need continued medical attention.
“Now they’re going to have to go through the court process,” Bussett said.
White and King were released on bail on Tuesday. A judge has set a trial date for April 3 for the men.
With post wires