Arkansas Sheriff Accused of Assaulting 3 Faces Federal Charges

A sheriff in Arkansas is facing federal civil rights charges after being accused of beating three people in his custody, including two he is said to have struck while they were shackled.

The sheriff, Anthony Boen of Franklin County, was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

Credit…Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Boen, 49, who pleaded not guilty to all three counts during his arraignment on Tuesday in Fort Smith, Ark., was released on a $5,000 signature bond, his lawyer, Russell Wood, said.

As a condition of his release, Sheriff Boen may not “engage in any sheriff-related activities,” Mr. Wood said, but he remains in the position.

In a statement, Mr. Wood said that his client had no comment, but added that “the 3 inmates that made the allegations against Sheriff Boen have serious credibility issues.”

Attempts to reach Sheriff Boen at his home on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

According to officials, the indictment contends that Sheriff Boen used “unreasonable force to punish pretrial detainees on three separate occasions.”

Sheriff Boen, who was first elected to his position in 2011, is accused of having assaulted one detainee in 2017 and two more in 2018.

On Sept. 14, 2017, Sheriff Boen is said to have punched a person he was transporting “multiple times in the head and body” while the person was “handcuffed and shackled in the back of a patrol vehicle” and not resisting, the indictment said.

On Nov. 21, 2018, Sheriff Boen is said to have “ordered” that a person who is identified in court documents as “B.E.” to be taken to the detectives’ office. Sheriff Boen then pushed “B.E.” to the floor before grabbing his hair or beard, the indictment said.

A third assault occurred two weeks later, on Dec. 3, 2018, when Sheriff Boen struck a detainee multiple times on the head while the person was “shackled to a bench in the Franklin County Jail” and not resisting, according to the indictment.

All three assaults resulted in bodily injury, according to officials. Details of any injuries were not immediately available.

If convicted, Sheriff Boen could serve a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, with three years of supervised release, and pay a fine of up to $250,000, officials said.

A trial has been set for Feb. 3, his lawyer said.

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