Franklin County Sheriff pleads not guilty in Federal Court to striking inmates

KNWA

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen has been indicted on three counts involving a Federal Civil Rights case.

Tuesday morning Boen was called before Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford at the Fort Smith Federal Courthouse.

Anthony Boen

According to the indictment Boen is facing three counts.

Count 1: Boen punched an inmate in the back of the patrol car multiple times in the head while handcuffed on September 14, 2017, according to the indictment.

Count 2: On November 21, 2018, an inmate was brought to the detective’s office at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the inmate was pushed to the floor and Boen then grabbed his hair and beard, according to the indictment.

Court 3: On December 3, 2018, Boen struck another inmate in the head while the person was handcuffed to a bench at the jail, according to the indictment.

Boen pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Brian Gallini is a law professor at the University of Arkansas. He said the deprivation of rights under color of law charge is more serious than assault.

“Over the course of years, the courts have recognized that pretrial assault by a law enforcement officer deprives a citizen of their due process rights,” Gallini said. “That seems like, from the federal indictment, the route the government’s pursuing.”

Gallini said the federal government gets involved in cases like this as a check on state agencies.

“When the government does pursue an investigation like this, they are looking to send a message, typically, that they were concerned about this behavior,” Gallini said.

Judge Ford released Boen on a $5,000 bond. His next court date is set for February 3, 2020.

According to the judge, the conditions of the bond require Boen to relinquish all duties as sheriff except for signing checks. He will also not be allowed inside the sheriff’s office and will not be allowed to possess weapons.

Sheriff Boen was elected as Franklin County Sheriff in 2011.

If convicted, Boen faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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