Arkansas State Police launch probe into violent arrest that was captured on video

State police launched an investigation Sunday into the use of force against a man by Arkansas law enforcement that was captured on viral video.

The video was recorded Sunday outside a convenience store in Mulberry as three officers, two from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and one from the Mulberry Police Department, arrested a man on allegations of trespassing and other crimes, Arkansas State Police said in a statement.

The suspect, identified as Randall Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, was hospitalized with unspecified injuries before he was jailed, state police said.

The officers involved weren’t identified. Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante said in a statement Sunday that the two deputies who were seen on video had been suspended until the conclusion of the state probe.

Mulberry police subsequently said in a statement that their officer has also been suspended pending the investigation, NBC affiliate KARK of Little Rock reported.

“The City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department takes these investigations very seriously and holds all their officers accountable for their actions,” the department said.

Representatives for statewide law enforcement organizations that represent rank-and-file officers and deputies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. It’s not clear whether the officers involved have legal representation.

Damante, the Crawford County sheriff, said he requested a state police investigation. Later in the day, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said one was underway.

It’s not clear what took place before the recording, which appeared to have been shot from a vehicle at the Kountry Xpress market.

Video shows Worcester on the ground, his body twisting in different directions, as an officer closest to his head pummels him with a right fist and then a left. At one point, the same official pulls the suspect’s head off the ground and pushes it down with force.

Another law enforcement official, the one closest to the man’s feet, appears to strike Worcester multiple times with a knee. The third officer appears to hold Worcester down, with the help of body weight, at his waist.

Toward the end of the video, a woman in the car shouts at the officers to stop, and one of the three responds by pointing toward the camera. Another shouts for her to back up, using an expletive.

According to KARK, the Crawford County deputies came upon Worcester after a clerk at a retailer reported to another police department that a person spat on him and threatened him. That department asked neighboring jurisdictions to be on the lookout for the suspect, the station reported.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department said that the suspect was cooperative at first but that the men ultimately ended up in a physical confrontation.

The state investigators are focusing solely on the use of force at the store, and they will forward their conclusion, including possible recommended charges, to local prosecutors.

A detailed list of charges for which the suspect was booked, according to state police, includes: second-degree battery, resisting arrest, refusal to submit, possessing an instrument of crime, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening and second-degree assault.

Sarah Kaufman contributed.

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