Attorneys: Deputy involved in viral arrest had history of excessive force
MULBERRY, Ark. (KAIT) – Two days after a video went viral of a man’s arrest in Crawford County, attorneys for the man are claiming one of the deputies involved has a history of violent arrests.
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, Carrie Jernigan and David Powell worked to draw attention to other arrests involving Crawford County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Levi White.
The duo is representing Randal Worcester, the man seen in the Aug. 21 video where he repeatedly punched, kicked, and slammed against the ground.
White was one of three law enforcement officers seen in the video arresting Worcester, along with fellow deputy Zach King and Mulberry Police Department officer Thell Riddle.
According to content partner KARK, Jernigan and Powell spoke very little about Worcester during the news conference, other than saying he was recovering.
The attorneys instead focused on two other clients: Teddy Wallace and Tammy Nelson.
They claimed Wallace and Nelson had also been subject to arrests and brutality by White.
“There’s something going on and we need to get it addressed,” Jernigan said before introducing Wallace and Nelson.
The attorneys stressed they did not think the use of excessive force was routine in Mulberry or the county.
Jernigan said Wallace had been “attacked” during an arrest on July 12, adding her further attempts to get answers about the incident from authorities have been unsuccessful.
“Mr. Wallace, in my opinion, was brutally beaten,” Jernigan told reporters. “My last contact with any superior was July 14, and to date, I have not been taken up on any investigation of that. The main officer that was essentially brutally beating Mr. Wallace’s head was Deputy Levi White.”
Jernigan said she saw White before Sunday’s video, but the viral footage matched what her client had told her.
“When I saw that video [of Worcester’s arrest], it was exactly how Mr. Wallace told me he was getting beat. The blows to the portion on the side of the head, the grabbing of the head and hitting it on the concrete. I knew it was Levi White,” she said.
Wallace has not been charged since his arrest, KARK said.
“Unfortunately for his [Wallace’s] case, nobody was there with a cell phone video,” Powell said. “Had that been the case, you guys would probably have been down here interviewing him immediately.
The attorneys said Nelson’s July 14 arrest was like that of Wallace’s.
“She was, in my opinion, attacked by Deputy Levi White, also on her property,” Jernigan said. “Part of that is on video until her phone slams to the ground. You can hear her screaming; you can hear her in pain.”
Powell claimed Tuesday’s press conference was to create accountability.
“It [incidents] gets swept under the rug. So, thankfully, some of this is coming to light. Hopefully, some changes get made locally,” he said.
The conference came after attorney Russell Wood released a statement Monday, Aug. 23 on behalf of White and King, claiming the sheriff’s department has more video that has not been released.
He said White was responding to a person matching the description of a suspect that threatened to cut a woman’s face off with his knife.
Wood stated Worcester provided a false identity to the deputies, and that’s when the struggle began.
“Such a violent suspect cannot be allowed to remain unrestrained, and all necessary force is authorized to arrest this type of violent suspect. The amount of force authorized under the law is always relative to the offense the suspect commits,” he said.
Wood added the Southern States Police Benevolent Association supports the deputies.
Worcester was freed on bond Monday from the Crawford County Detention Center. White and King have been suspended, while Riddle is on administrative leave.
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