A video showing a man beaten that has surfaced on social media has resulted in two Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies being suspended and a Mulberry police officer placed on leave, the sheriff and Mulberry police chief reported.
The Arkansas State Police are investigating the incident after the video was posted on social media by Naomi Ruth Johnson.
The man, identified as Randall Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, is seen in the video on the ground under two deputies and a Mulberry police officer about 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Kountry Xpress, 1107 Georgia Ridge Drive.
A news release from the Arkansas State Police Sunday night stated:
“The Arkansas State Police has opened an investigation into the use of force by two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry police officer in the arrest of a South Carolina man. The incident occurred about 10:40 a.m. today (Sunday) outside a Crawford County convenience store in Mulberry. The investigation was initiated at the request of the 21st Judicial District prosecuting attorney.”
Worcester was taken to an area hospital for examination and treatment, then he was later booked at the Crawford County Jail in Van Buren, state police reported.
Worcester was jailed on complaints of second degree burglary, resisting arrest, refusal to submit, possessing an instrument of crime, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening, and second degree assault, according to Arkansas state police.
“The state police investigation will be limited to the use of physical force by the deputies and police officer. 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,” the statement reads.
The identity of the officers was not released.
“Questions relating to the identity of the three law enforcement officers and their administrative status should be directed to their respective departments where they are employed.”
The incident reportedly started in Alma Sunday where police there reported a man had threatened convenience store employees and then rode a bicycle to Mulberry.
In a statement Sunday evening, Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory said the officer involved is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
In a social media post Sunday, Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante stated, “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.”
The video shows three law officers on top of a man who is punched in the head and kneed several times. An officer points at the person with the camera and orders it turned off.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson commented on the arrest 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 tweeted.
Celina Tebor, USA Today breaking news reporter, contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism