Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams
Three Arkansas law enforcement officers were suspended Sunday and a state investigation was launched after the trio was recorded brutally attacking a man who was pinned to the ground.
KARK reports Arkansas State Police special agents are investigating two Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry Police Department (MPD) officer who were recorded earlier Sunday kneeing and punching 27-year-old Randall Worcester of Goose Creek, South Carolina and slamming the man’s head into the pavement while holding him down a short distance from a convenience store in Mulberry. Employees at the store had called police after Worcester allegedly spat on and threatened them.
“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,” Crawford County Sheriff James Damante said in a statement. “I hold all my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate measures in this matter.”
In a similar statement, MPD said that “the officer is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Arkansas cop seen kneeing, face punching then grabbing hair of person & smashing person’s head into cement
From @MitchellMcCoy: Arkansas State Police launch investigation into this incident, captured on camera, outside a convenience store in Crawford Co. pic.twitter.com/UrZU2dq3PN
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) August 21, 2022
“The City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department [take] these investigations very seriously and holds all their officers accountable for their actions,” the agency added. “We will take the appropriate actions at the conclusion of the investigation.”
Local media report the officers in the recording have been identified as Thell Riddle of MPD and Crawford County deputies Levi White and Zack King.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, tweeted Sunday that “the local arrest incident in Crawford County will be investigated pursuant to the video evidence and the request of the prosecuting attorney.”
Worcester was transported to an area hospital where he was treated before being released and taken into police custody. He faces charges including battery, assault, and resisting arrest.