Cherokee Village officer arrested for police brutality

Cherokee Village sign, circa 2017. Photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report

CHEROKEE VILLAGE, Ark. – Two years ago, Officer Josh Trivitt with Cherokee Village Police Department bragged on camera about body-slamming Randall Lee Veazie.

On Monday, Trivitt was arrested and charged with felony second degree battery for his role in the Veazie incident. Circuit Judge Kevin King carried out a first appearance on Trivitt after 2 p.m. He was released on his own recognizance (no bond). He has a court date of September 12.

Attorneys Jim Harris and Zach Morrison, Law Offices of Harris & Morrison of Blytheville, Arkansas, issued the following statement after the arrest Trivitt, one of several police officers they have accused in a federal civil rights lawsuit for brutal beating of their client, Randall Lee Veazie of Sharp County:

“Officer Trivitt’s arrest today is long past due. We are pleased that the authorities have investigated this matter and that the wheels of justice are finally beginning to turn. It does not, however, abrogate our disbelief that it has taken nearly two (2) years for the law to catch up with Officer Trivitt. It is our hope that authorities will provide our client with victim services, just as they would any other individual in his position.”

The incident is still under criminal investigation and more arrests could follow. Special Investigator Jack McQuary was assigned to the case.

The lawsuit is being brought against officers Trivitt, Colton Wilson, Jack Lowe, Tom Rigsby, Ash Flat Chief of Police Anthony Whiles, Cherokee Village Chief of Police Rickey Crook, and Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts. It names them as individuals and in their professional capacities. Ash Flat, Cherokee Village and Sharp County are also named in the suit, alleging they employed the aforementioned officers while having, “prior notice of the vicious propensities of the Defendant law enforcement officers.”

Trivitt is said to have slammed arrestees during previous arrests on at least two different occasions in the lawsuit.

The suit asks for damages for permanent and debilitating injuries which impaired the defendant’s ability to work along with pain and suffering, medical bills, and attorney’s fees. A jury trial is demanded in the case.

One of the scars sustained by Veazie. Photo submitted.

Sources close to the family describe Veazie’s heart-wrenching injuries and the surgeries which have followed. Among them: A broken mandible requiring surgery to implant titanium plates and screws into his jaw. His mouth had to be wired shut for almost a month. Then, he had a reaction to the titanium and another surgery was required due to that and an infection which set in. The right side of Veazie’s skull was fractured, which likely traumatized the brain. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, was totally shattered and can’t be repaired. Anytime he eats, it sounds like he’s chewing hard candy. This is the same side of the face Rigsby used the steel flashlight on. His nose was fractured. He suffers from PTSD. He has memory problems and is receiving speech therapy. He also has fainting spells.

Veazie never had mental health issues prior to this incident, sources close to him say.

“He rarely went to the doctor. Now, he goes to the doctor every other week.”

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