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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 9, 2021

Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas Found Guilty of Assaulting Two Individuals in Custody

FORT SMITH – A federal jury convicted the Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas today on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Anthony Boen, 51, of Ozark, used unreasonable force to punish pretrial detainees on two separate occasions.  On Dec. 3, 2018, Boen struck a detainee multiple times in the head with a closed fist while the detainee was sitting on the floor and shackled to a bench inside the Franklin County Jail.  On Nov. 21, 2018, Boen slammed a detainee onto the floor and ripped his hair during an interrogation.  Both detainees suffered bodily injury as a result of Boen’s actions.

“Anthony Boen swore an oath to support the United States Constitution and the State of Arkansas Constitution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas.  “His actions clearly violated not only the civil rights of these individuals but also the trust of the people of Franklin County. Cases like this are very important to our office because they involve the most personal and basic of civil rights: the rights to be protected and unharmed while in the custody of law enforcement officers. Today’s guilty verdict shows that justice will prevail in cases where a person’s civil rights are violated. We will continue to vigorously pursue cases involving the violation of basic civil rights that should be afforded to everyone.”

“The defendant abused his power as the top law enforcement officer in Franklin County, Arkansas, by assaulting people in his custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who abuse their authority to make clear that no one is above the law.” 

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers in the United States steadfastly protect and serve their communities,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James Dawson. “When officers charged with enforcing the law break their oaths and violate the rights of others, they gravely injure the public’s trust in law enforcement. Our FBI office remains committed to upholding the public’s trust by investigating all allegations of civil rights violations throughout Arkansas.”

The FBI investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon T. Carter and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer prosecuted the case.

Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.

 

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Updated August 9, 2021