Lawsuit filed against several officers for reported beating of m - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Lawsuit filed against several officers for reported beating of man

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
SHARP COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -

A pair of Blytheville attorneys filed a civil lawsuit in Sharp County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon on behalf of an Ash Flat man they say several officers unlawfully assaulted, prosecuted, and harassed.

The officers named are Josh Trivitt, Colton Wilson, Jack Lowe, and Tom Rigsby.

Rigsby and Wilson are with the Ash Flat Police Department. City officials confirm the two are on administrative leave.

Trivitt is with the Cherokee Village Police Department.

Lowe is a reserve deputy with the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department.

Chief Anthony Wiles, Chief Rickey Crook, and Sheriff Mark Counts are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit, along with their respective municipalities.

The lawsuit stems from an incident on November 12, 2016, when several officers responded to Randall Veazie’s house in Ash Flat because of a supposed domestic issue.

According to the original report from the Ash Flat Police Department, Veazie’s wife told dispatch he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When officers arrived, she told them that Veazie was inside the house, rolling a joint and they had been fighting.

Both the report and lawsuit state that Veazie was apparently intoxicated when police officers began talking with him.

The lawsuit alleges that Officer Josh Trivitt body-slammed Veazie.

It also said that body camera video shows Officer Tom Rigsby hit Veazie on the side of the head with a flashlight while Veazie was laying on the ground and handcuffed.

Region 8 News has requested that video from the Cherokee Village Police Department but has yet to receive it.

The report by Officer Colton Wilson does state that Veazie was pulled out of the police car after trying to kick the officer, busting his chin on the pavement.

The lawsuit states Veazie suffered several bone fractures and deep cuts from the incident.

One of Veazie’s attorneys, Zach Morrison, said the plaintiff’s medical bills exceed $50,000 so far.

"I am appalled at the actions of these individual officers, as well by the inaction of the leadership of their departments in failing to correct the officer's gross misconduct,” said Attorney James Harris, who is also representing Veazie.“There is no excuse for this officer’s actions, and with the current civil unrest that is sweeping this country, this type of action only provokes and promotes negative reaction.”

Morrison said the investigation into this incident by the FBI and Arkansas State Police is ongoing. 

Region 8 News contacted Chief Wiles, Chief Crook, and Sheriff Counts on Thursday.

They each said it is too soon for them to comment on the lawsuit and they are each seeking legal advice.

Below, you will find a copy of the entire lawsuit that was filed.

This is a copy of the original report from the Ash Flat Police Department on the November 2016 incident. There is graphic language in the report below.

Region 8 News has also requested the original report from the Cherokee Village Police Department. 

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