MULBERRY, Ark. (WNCN/AP) — Federal authorities say they have started a civil rights investigation following the suspension of three Arkansas law enforcement officers after a video posted on social media showed two of them beating a South Carolina man while a third officer held him on the ground.
A U.S. Justice Department spokesperson said Monday that the federal investigation would be separate from the Arkansas State Police investigation of the arrest.
Authorities said the officers were responding to a report of the man, Randal Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, making threats outside a convenience store Sunday in the small town of Mulberry, about 140 miles northwest of Little Rock, near the border with Oklahoma.
The call came after a store clerk said he had spat in their face and made terroristic threats, according to police in Alma.
Worcester then fled the store and all law enforcement in the area was on notice to lookout for him, according to police.
According to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, deputies found Worcester at the Kuntry Xpress gas station in Mulberry. He was cooperative at first but then things turned violent and he injured an officer. The incident took place around 10:40 a.m. Sunday.
A full video of the altercation was shared by a CBS 17 affiliate in Arkansas, KARK 4 News.
Viewer discretion is advised.
Following the incident, Worcester was taken to a hospital with minor head injuries after resisting arrest. He faces the charges of:
- Battery in the second degree
- Assault in the first degree
- Resisting arrest refusal to submit to arrest
- Possessing instrument of criminal trespass
- Criminal mischief in the second degree
- Terroristic threatening in the first degree
- Assault in the second degree
One of the three officers involved did sustain injuries during the arrest. All three have been suspended after the video, which circulated on Facebook, shows them beating Worcester as he was apparently restrained outside the store.
Sheriff James Damante has confirmed that one Mulberry Police officer and two deputies were shown in the video, though no names have been shared at this time. In response to the video, Damante said:
“In reference to the video circulating social media involving two Crawford County Deputies, we have requested that Arkansas State Police conduct the investigation and the Deputies have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” Damante said in a Facebook post. “I hold all my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate measures in this matter.“CRAWFORD COUNTY SHERIFF, JAMES DAMANTE
In regard to the one Mulberry officer involved, the Mulbery Police Department responded with a statement, saying:
“The officer is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”…“The City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department takes these investigations very seriously and holds all their officers accountable for their actions. We will take the appropriate actions at the conclusion of the investigation.”MULBERRY POLICE DEPARTMENT