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Judge postpones trial for man whose Crawford County arrest, beating was caught on video

by Thomas Saccente | June 2, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Randal Worcester walks out of the Crawford County Justice Center in Van Buren on Aug. 22, 2022. (File Photo/AP/Andrew DeMillo)

VAN BUREN -- The jury trial for a man who was recorded being held down and beaten by law enforcement officers has been pushed back to Sept. 28.

Marc McCune, Crawford County Circuit Court judge, approved a motion for continuance Tuesday filed by legal counsel for Randal Worcester, according to court records.

The trial was originally set to begin June 26.

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

Rinda Baker, the county prosecutor at the time, said Aug. 31 she requested a special prosecutor regarding charges against Worcester. Worcester pleaded innocent to his charges Dec. 14.

A video of Worcester's arrest, which took place Aug. 21 outside the Kountry Xpress convenience store in Mulberry, went viral on social media. The video showed Zackary King and Levi White, who were both Crawford County sheriff's office deputies, and officer Thell Riddle of the Mulberry Police Department repeatedly punching and kneeing Worcester during the arrest, as well as telling a bystander to get away from the scene.

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

White and King were fired effective Sept. 29 with a recommendation for decertification due to "excessive use of force," according to records from the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. They had been suspended with pay after Worcester's arrest.

Riddle, who had been put on administrative leave, was reinstated Feb. 17, according to Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory.

Print Headline: Man arrested in use-of-force case gets new trial date


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