LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two former Arkansas law enforcement officers are charged with civil rights violations in the violent arrest of a man outside a convenience store that was filmed and shared on social media, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The department announced the charges in an indictment filed Tuesday against former Crawford County sheriff’s deputies Zack King and Levi White in the Aug. 21 arrest of Randal Worcester, 27, outside a Mulberry store. about 140 miles (220 kilometers) away. . northwest of Little Rock near the Oklahoma border.
White and King were charged with using excessive force in custody, striking Worcester several times while he was down. A spectator recorded the match on a mobile phone.
No charges have been announced against Mulberry Police Officer Thell Riddle, who was also in the video. Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante fired King and White in October.
Damante said Worcester was arrested for threatening a clerk at a nearby store and assaulting one of the sheriff’s deputies. The deputy suffered a concussion, Damante said.
The three officers were suspended after the video surfaced, and state and federal authorities launched an investigation.
Worcester filed a federal lawsuit against the officers and local officials, saying they violated his constitutional rights during the arrest.
Police experts said the video raises red flags about the officers’ actions, saying the headshots amount to a potentially deadly use of force that is only justified when someone poses a present and serious threat.
Worcester was treated at a hospital, then booked into jail on charges of second-degree assault and resisting arrest. He was released the next day on $15,000 bail. Worcester’s lawsuit said he has permanent injuries and will need additional medical care.