FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen has been indicted on federal charges alleging the use of excessive force against detainees on three separate occasions.
At 10 a.m. Tuesday (Dec. 17), Boen, 49, was called before Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford at the Fort Smith federal courthouse.
According to court records, Boen is facing three counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.
The alleged incidents happened between 2017-2018.
Detainees say Boen assaulted them while they were in handcuffs, causing them to suffer bodily injury as a result of his actions.
The indictment stems from a months-long investigation by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon T. Carter of the Western District of Arkansas and Civil Rights Divison Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer.
According to the indictment, on Sept. 14, 2017, Boen transported a prisoner with the initials J. P. and punched him multiple times while he was handcuffed and shackled in the back of a police car.
The indictment further alleges that on Nov. 21, 2018, an inmate with initials P. E. was brought to the detective's office at the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and was pushed to the floor by Boen and grabbed his hair or beard during an interrogation.
The incident also included an incident two weeks later on Dec. 3, 2018, when an inmate at the Franklin Co. jail with the initials Z. G. was struck multiple times in the head by Boen while shackled to a bench inside the Franklin County Jail.
Boen will be presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. Boen will be presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Boen pleaded not guilty to the charges.
If convicted, Boen faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, three years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
He was released on a $5,000 bond. His trial date is set for Feb. 3, 2020.
Boen cannot enter the premises of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department. But, he will still have to sign employee checks, which will be brought to his home.
A sign posted at the front door of the Franklin County Sheriff’s apartment says employees will not comment on Sheriff Anthony Boen .
But federally indicting a sheriff in Arkansas is a rare occurence.
Franklin County’s civil attorney, Christopher Brockett said there has been a lot of research into what happens next with the Franklin County Sheriff’s department.
“The chief deputy will be responsible for the law-enforcement side of things,” he said. “The jail administrator will be responsible for the Jail itself and operations of the Jail itself.”
Boen still holds his position as Sheriff and will still be paid for the time being .
“The things that he still has the authority over is to sign the checks and we believe that would also include signing any paperwork that may be necessary," Brockett said. “In the event that either the sheriff, current sheriff resigns from his position or is ultimately found guilty and then is removed from office because of that conviction for a felony, then the quorum court would actually appoint a replacement.”
Boen was elected as the Franklin County Sheriff in 2011.
5NEWS will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.