Grand Jury issues indictments against Crawford County deputies

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 336 views 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas announced Tuesday (Jan. 24) that a Grand Jury issued indictments against Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies Zackary King and Levi White for using excessive force in an arrest.

According to the statement from the office of U.S. Attorney David Fowlkes, King, 27 and White, 32, are charged with two counts of federal civil rights offenses for using excessive force on a 27-year-old man during his arrest at a gas station in Mulberry, Ark., on Aug. 21, 2022.

The incident raised public outrage when a person at the gas station filmed the actions by the law enforcement officers, who were called to the station after the man made threats against a gas station employee, and posted the video on social media.

Count One of the Indictment alleges that, while the arrestee (named in the court filing as R.W.) was lying on the ground, White struck him multiple times. Count Two of the Indictment alleges that King struck the arrestee multiple times, also while the arrestee was lying on the ground.

The federal filing, stamped Jan. 11, alleges that “while acting under color of law, willfully deprived R.W., a person known to the Grand Jury, of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be free from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer. Specifically, while arresting R.W. with two other officers, LEVI WHITE struck R.W. multiple times while R.W. was lying on the ground. The offense resulted in bodily injury to R.W.”

If convicted, White and King face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the excessive-force charge, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. A trial has been set for April 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

Mulberry Police Officer Thell Riddle, who was also involved in the arrest and remains on administrative leave, was not mentioned in the Grand Jury indictment.

The FBI Little Rock Field Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin Roberts and Devon Still for the Western District of Arkansas and trial attorneys Anna Gotfryd and Michael Songer of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.