Three Arkansas law enforcement officers were suspended on Sunday over a video that showed two deputies and an officer pummelling a suspect under arrest.
The video, widely circulated on social media, shows three law enforcement officers on top of a man under arrest punching him in the head and kneeing him several times. An officer points at the person recording the video, ordering her to stop videotaping.
Suspect Spat on Convenience Store Employee's Face, Threatened to 'Cut Off Their Face'
The incident took place in Mulberry, Arkansas on Sunday, Aug. 21. The suspect was identified as Randall Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina.
According to Sheriff Jimmy Damante with the Crawford County Sheriff's Office (CCSO), around 10 a.m. Sunday, Alma police officers were called about a man making terroristic threats to a convenience store employee. Worcester allegedly spit on the employee and threatened to "cut off their face."
Sheriff Damante says Worcester then traveled on a bike to Mulberry, near Exit 20, where the Mulberry officer and the deputies met with him. The conversation began calm, but the sheriff says Worcester then began attacking one of the deputies by pushing him to the ground and punching the back of his head, leading to what was seen in the video.
Video Footage of Violent Arrest
In the video, the deputies and the officer are seen holding Worcester down on the ground, kneeling on him and slamming his face to the ground. (The video is graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised)
Crawford County Sheriff's Office, Mulberry Police Department Issue Statement
Arkansas State Police are now investigating the incident while CCSO holds an internal investigation.
The CCSO released the following statement on Facebook:
"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. I hold all my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate measures in this matter."
Worcester was booked into jail and then taken to an area hospital. The extent of his injuries is not known at this time. He faces charges of terroristic threatening, resisting arrest, 2nd-degree battery, trespassing, aggravated assault and being in possession of an instrument of crime, according to Sheriff Damante.
The Mulberry Police Department released the following statement regarding the incident:
"The City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department is aware of the video circulating on social media involving one of our officers. The Arkansas State Police have been asked to investigate the incident. 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."
ArkansasGov. Asa Hutchinson commented on the video in a tweet Sunday. "I have spoken with Col. Bill Bryant of the Arkansas State Police, and the local arrest incident in Crawford County will be investigated pursuant to the video evidence and the request of the prosecuting attorney," Hutchinson wrote.