Arkansas State Police have opened an investigation into two Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry police officer who were suspended and placed on leave, respectively, after footage surfaced of the three men using brutal force against a South Carolina resident during a recent arrest.
The investigation will examine the expletive-ridden video that was posted on social media Sunday morning. The 30-second clip shows a man, identified as 27-year-old Randall Worcester, on the ground beneath the law enforcement officers as they appear to punch, kick, and kneel on his body outside of a convenience store. One officer is seen slamming Worcester’s head into the ground by his hair.
A woman can be heard off-camera pleading: “Don’t beat him! He needs his medicine!” One of the officers is heard responding, instructing the woman to “back the fuck up,” while another told her to return to her vehicle.
“The City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department takes these investigations very seriously and holds all their officers accountable for their actions,” the city of Mulberry said in a statement. “We will take the appropriate actions at the conclusion of the investigation.”
Police said they received a call that Worcester had allegedly threatened an employee at a convenience store in the area, according to the Associated Press. The Washington Post also reports that when confronted by police, Worcester reportedly pushed one of the officers to the ground, leading to the physical confrontation seen in the video.
“The state police investigation will be limited to the use of physical force by the deputies and police officer,” a statement from the Arkansas State Police reads. “Upon completion of the investigation, the case file will be submitted to the Crawford County prosecuting attorney, who will determine whether the use of force by the law enforcement officers was consistent with Arkansas laws.”
Worcester was detained after an examination at a local hospital, where he was treated for minor head injuries. He faces charges of second-degree battery, resisting arrest, possessing an instrument of crime, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening, and first- and second-degree assault charges. According to jailhouse records, Worcester is being held on a $15,000 bond. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
In a statement issued Sunday evening, Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante added: “I hold all my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate measures in this matter.”