CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark. — Attorneys for a man videoed during his arrest in Crawford County Sunday are claiming one of the deputies involved has a history of violent arrests.
During a news conference Tuesday, attorneys Carrie Jernigan and David Powell worked to draw attention to other arrests involving Crawford County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Levi White.
The pair are representing Randal Worcester. A viral video of Worcester’s Sunday arrest showed him being 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 CCSO Deputy Zack King and Mulberry Police Department Officer Thell Riddle.
The event was captured on cell phone video and has since become a viral phenomenon and the subject of national and international news.
Jernigan and Powell spoke very little about Worcester during the news conference, other than to say he was recovering. Instead they focused on two other clients, Teddy Wallace and Tammy Nelson, who had also been subject to arrests and, the lawyers claimed, brutality by White.
“There’s something going on and we need to get it addressed,” Jernigan said prior to introducing Wallace and Nelson.
Jernigan and Powell stressed that they did not think the use of excessive force was routine in the county, or in the city of Mulberry, but said that these incidents need to be addressed
Jernigan said Wallace had been “attacked” during an arrest July 12, adding that her further attempts to get answers about the incident from authorities has yielded little.
“Mister 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 Mister Wallace’s head was Deputy Levi White.”
Jernigan said she had never seen White before Sunday’s viral video but that the footage making the rounds on social media matched what her client had told her.
“When I saw that video [of Worcester’s arrest] it was exactly how Mister Wallace told me he was getting beat, the blows to the portion 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.
“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 story was similar to Wallace’s after her July 14 arrest.
“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.”
Nelson said she had a negative experience Deputy White when he came to her property over a civil matter. She has cell phone video of the interaction.
“Within the split second you see Deputy Levi White grab my arm, yank me into him, swings around after he throws my phone, his arm around my neck, his fist hits me in the jaw right here,” Nelson said.
Nelson said it was a traumatic experience.
“Humiliated, disrespected violated, I’m on my back, there’s nothing covering me, he’s right here on top of that,” Nelson said.
The press conference was to create accountability, Powell said.
“It [incidents] get swept under the rug. So thankfully some of this is coming to light. Hopefully, some changes get made, locally, yeah,” Powell said.
“It’s not indicative of law enforcement in this area,” Jernigan said. “I just wish my complaint on July 13 [about the Wallace arrest] would have been taken seriously and investigated.”
Worcester was freed on bond Monday from the Crawford County Detention Center. White and King have been suspended from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, while Riddle is on administrative leave from the Mulberry Police Department.
Deputy White’s attorney, Russell Wood, would not respond to our request for comment Tuesday, but he wrote the following statement on Facebook:
It has come to my attention that there was some sort of a TikTok press conference or something today about this Crawford County matter. It never fails that high profile matters bring out all sorts of people and their attorneys. I did not see this show and have no comment on whatever allegations were lodged. I will release a detailed statement of exactly what happened in this case tomorrow. #releasethedashcamRussell A. Wood