Man seen in beating video has trial reset | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

VAN BUREN — The jury trial for the man who was recorded being held down and beaten by law enforcement officers outside a convenience store in Mulberry in 2022 has once again been postponed — this time to July 29.

Marc McCune, Crawford County circuit judge, signed an order Friday granting a third motion for continuance filed by attorneys representing Randal Worcester, according to court records. The motion similarly set a status conference in the case for June 26.

The order states the continuance will give Worcester’s attorneys time to obtain a complete copy of Worcester’s mental health records, along with certain audio, video and other material evidence. The motion for continuance was filed Dec. 19.

Worcester’s trial was originally scheduled to begin June 26 before being pushed to Sept. 28 and then to Jan. 30, court records state.

Denis Dean, senior deputy prosecuting attorney for the 4th Judicial District, charged Worcester, 28, of Goose Creek, S.C., on Dec. 1, 2022, with felony counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and second-degree battery, as well as misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, possessing an instrument of crime, obstructing governmental operations and disorderly conduct, according to court records.

Rinda Baker, the county prosecutor at the time, said on Aug. 31 she requested a special prosecutor regarding charges against Worcester. Worcester pleaded not guilty Dec. 14, 2022.

A video of Worcester’s arrest Aug. 21, 2022, outside the Kountry Xpress convenience store in Mulberry went viral on social media.

The video showed Zackary King and Levi White — both Crawford County sheriff’s deputies at the time — and officer Thell Riddle of the Mulberry Police Department repeatedly punching and kneeing Worcester during the arrest, along with telling a bystander to get away from the scene.

An officer identified as White in a federal civil rights lawsuit Worcester filed Aug. 29, 2022, was also shown slamming Worcester’s head into the pavement.

White and King were fired effective Sept. 29, 2022, with a recommendation for decertification due to “excessive use of force,” according to records from the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.

Cindy Murphy, communications director for the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, has said the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training will set a hearing on White’s and King’s certification once their federal criminal charges stemming from the use of force during Worcester’s arrest have been adjudicated.

Both men were arrested in connection with a federal investigation and pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Jan. 24 to one count each of deprivation of rights under color of law.

Riddle, who had been put on administrative leave in connection with Worcester’s arrest, was reinstated Feb. 17, according to Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory.

Attorney Emily White has said she was appointed special prosecuting attorney for the Arkansas State Police’s independent investigation into the use of force in Worcester’s arrest.

Robbie Jones, special prosecutor for the state Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator, said Emily White had closed the investigation on the state’s side and returned the investigative file to Crawford County before Oct. 16, when he stepped into her position. She also sent a letter to the Arkansas State Police recommending no state charges be filed against the two deputies.

photo Levi White
photo Zackary King

Source : https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2023/dec/27/man-seen-in-beating-video-has-trial-reset/

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Date de Publication : 2023-12-27 10:00:00

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