Arkansas

Federal agents arrest former deputies seen in Crawford County viral video

 

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Arkansas. On Tuesday afternoon, federal agents arrested two former Crawford County deputies who beat a man during an August 2022 arrest.

The former deputies, Levi White, 32, and Zachary King, 27, were fired by current former Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante shortly after a cell phone video of them beating Randal Wooster while taking him into custody went viral.

They were each charged with one count of civil rights violations for using excessive force in Wooster’s arrest on August 21, 2022. White and King pleaded not guilty in federal court for the Western District of Arkansas.

The grand jury indictment alleges that they hit Wooster “several times” while he lay on the ground, injuring him.

The video sparked international interest in the arrest. The video shows the pair hitting Wooster, who is on the ground.

The video also shows a third officer, Police Department officer Mulberry Tell Riddle, assisting two deputies in restraining Wooster. Federal officials did not arrest Riddle.

All three officers were suspended from duty following the incident.

Wooster, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, was released on $15,000 bail the day after his arrest. He reportedly required medical attention for injuries sustained during his arrest before being taken to the county detention center.

Worcester was charged with terrorist threats, battery, resisting arrest, possession of the instrument of crime, obstruction of government operations, and disorderly conduct. Court records show that a pre-trial hearing on these charges has been scheduled for April 4.

Arkansas State Police launched a special investigation into the alleged beating on August 22 at Damante’s request.

The sheriff’s office confirmed White and King’s dismissal in October. No specific date was given for the termination, other than that it happened “in the last few weeks” since then.

Fort Smith attorneys Adam Rose and David L. Powell filed a lawsuit on August 29 on Wooster’s behalf, alleging a violation of civil rights. The lawsuit named three officers, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and the Mulberry Police Department, and the city of Mulberry.

Powell said that at the time the force used against Worcester was “excessive”.

Court records show that Powell later resigned as an attorney for Wooster in the civil rights case. Filing in November 2022 by Rachel Bassett of Bussett Legal Group as an attorney for Worcester, requests a postponement of the trial date due to “a pending criminal investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) . involving individual defendants who will influence this case.”

The date for the Worcester civil rights trial was set for September 11.

A trial date for White and King has been set for April 3, with $5,000 bail for both men.

The indictment was filed January 11 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. It was signed by two Assistant U.S. Attorneys and two lawyers from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

If found guilty, White and King face a maximum sentence of 10 years, three years of parole and a fine of up to $250,000.

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