Franklin County Sheriff pleads not guilty in Federal Court to striking inmates

Local News

Courtesy: Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen has been indicted on three counts involving a Federal Civil Rights case.

Tuesday morning Boen was called before Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford at the Fort Smith Federal Courthouse.

According to the indictment Boen is facing three counts.

Count 1: Boen punched an inmate in the back of the patrol multiple times in the head while handcuffed on September 14, 2017, according to the indictment.

Count 2: On November 21, 2018, an inmate was brought to the detective’s office at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and was pushed to the floor and Boen then grabbed his hair and beard, according to the indictment.

Court 3: On December 3, 2018, Boen struck another inmate in the head while the person was handcuffed to a bench at the jail, according to the indictment.

Boen pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Judge Ford released Boen on a $5,000 bond. His next court date is set for February 3, 2020.

According to the judge, the conditions of the bond require Boen to relinquish all duties as sheriff except for signing checks. He will also not be allowed inside the sheriff’s office and will not be allowed to possess weapons.

Sheriff Boen was elected as Franklin County Sheriff in 2011.

Full details in news release issued Tuesday afternoon:
FORT SMITH, Ark. – Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas announced today that a federal grand jury returned an indictment on November 20, 2019, charging Anthony Boen, the current Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas, with federal civil rights offenses. Boen, age 49, is charged with three counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.

The indictment alleges that Boen used unreasonable force to punish pretrial detainees on three separate occasions. On Sept. 14, 2017, Boen allegedly punched a detainee multiples times in the head and body while the detainee was handcuffed and shackled in the back of a police car. The indictment further alleges that, on Nov. 21, 2018, Boen pushed a detainee onto the floor and grabbed his hair or beard during an interrogation. Two weeks later on December 3, 2018, Boen allegedly struck a detainee multiple times in the head while the detainee was shackled to a bench inside the Franklin County Jail and was not resisting. The indictment alleges that all three detainees suffered bodily injury as a result of Boen’s actions.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If convicted, Boen faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon T. Carter of the Western District of Arkansas and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer.

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