Battered Arkansas man who claims police brutality won't be charged

Posted: July 19, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

A prosecutor said he won't pursue criminal charges against an Ash Flat man who filed a police brutality lawsuit after his Nov. 13, 2016, arrest.

"In the wake of what happened to the man, I moved to dismiss the charges," said Henry Boyce of Newport, the prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' 3rd Judicial Circuit. "There were no police officers injured to my knowledge so there was certainly some misconduct."

Randell Lee Veazie, 41, suffered a broken nose, a broken and dislocated jawbone, and deep cuts after part-time Ash Flat officer Tom Rigsby hit him in the face with a flashlight, according to the lawsuit filed in Sharp County Circuit Court.

It was a "permanent and debilitating injury with resulting impairment in his functioning," according to the lawsuit filed May 16 by James W. Harris and Zachary W. Morrison of Blytheville, Veazie's attorneys.

The case has since been moved to federal court.

Named as defendants are two Ash Flat police officers, a Cherokee Village police officer and a man who was a deputy with the Sharp County sheriff's office at the time of the incident. Also named as defendants are the police chiefs in those cities, Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts and the cities and county.

Boyce said he moved to dismiss the charges against Veazie months ago, but they were still on the Ash Flat Municipal Court docket Wednesday afternoon. Boyce said he expects the charges to be dismissed as soon as a judge can be brought in to hear the case. A local judge has recused.

Veazie was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Nov. 13, 2016, citation written by part-time Ash Flat police officer Colton Wilson. All of those are misdemeanors.

The Ash Flat Police Department's report, dated Dec. 4, 2016, and also written by Wilson, listed battery as a fourth charge, but Boyce said Veazie wasn't charged with battery because it's not on the original citation.

State Desk on 07/19/2018