FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The man at the center of a viral video showing law enforcement officers seemingly using excessive force to subdue him has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court.
On August 29, Randal Worcester filed a civil rights complaint and a request for a jury trial in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court, Civil Division, naming Thell Riddle, Shannon Gregory, Zachary King, Levi White, Jimmy Damante, Crawford County, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department as defendants.
The detailed filing includes a recount of the incident that led to Worcester’s arrest. It states that “without provocation, Defendant White aggressively attempted to put Mr. Worcester’s arms behind his back in an effort to handcuff him, without stating any reason for doing so. At no time did the Defendant Officers inform Mr. Worcester of his Miranda right when being handcuffed.”
The filing goes on to explain that “a physical altercation ensued,” which resulted in Worcester being “tackled to the ground.” The complaint states that the defendant officers restrained him by pinning his hands and arms behind his back.
Despite Mr. Worcester being detained, the Defendant Officers continued to repeatedly punch, kick and knee Mr. Worcester in the face, head, back, stomach and legs. At one point, Defendant White picked up Mr. Worcester by the head and slammed his face and head into the concrete pavement.Civil Rights Complaint filed by Randal Worcester II on August 29
The filing continues by noting that an onlooker was told to “back the [****] up” after expressing concern and added that “at no point during the incident” did the officers “attempt to use de-escalation tactics or subdue Mr. Worcester with a taser and/or pepper spray.” The suit describes the force used as “in excess of any force required to take Mr. Worcester into custody.”
Worcester’s attorney, Adam Rose, told KNWA/FOX 24 the lawsuit is about accountability for law enforcement.
“I think this is step one of many steps in the right direction for some type of recourse not just for Randal, but for the community to hold police officers responsible for actions that they take against individuals and make them think twice before using excessive force against people who love the community,” Rose said.
The suit states that the defendant officers acted “with malice and/or reckless disregard for whether Mr. Worcester’s rights would be violated by their actions.” Worcester was treated at a hospital, but he “refused any attention due to his terror of the officers.”
The filing notes that Worcester sustained “serious bodily harm” during the incident. It notes injuries “to his face, body and head for which he will need continual medical treatment.” The amount of his medical expenses will be determined at trial, and the complaint notes that he has permanent injuries.
Rose said Worcester’s injuries from the incident were severe.
“The first few days after that, especially with the head injuries, especially to the left side left section of his head, he couldn’t sleep on that side of his head and he had severe, severe, swollen, swollen of the head,” Rose said.
The complaint also alleges that Gregory, the City of Mulberry and the Mulberry PD failed to respond to previous complaints against Riddle, saying that they were “deliberately indifferent to the inadequate training” he received. The suit makes the same allegations against Damante regarding “previous complaints of acts of battery, assault, and negligence” committed by White and King.
Inadequate training and supervision were again cited as factors.
For cases of action, the complaint specifically cites the violation of Worcester’s Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as torts of negligence and battery and assault.
The suit requests compensatory and punitive damages against the defendants, in addition to attorney’s fees, costs, medical bills and lost wages, with pre-judgment interest to be awarded on its judgment.
Attorney for Deputies’ White and King, Russell Wood, released the following statement in regard to the lawsuit.
I have not had an opportunity to read the federal lawsuit filed by Worcester. However, even violent felons have a right to file whatever lawsuits they want in America. I will vigorously defend the lawsuit like I do every lawsuit against my law enforcement officers.Russell Wood