MULBERRY, Ark. — Two Arkansas sheriff’s deputies and one police officer have been suspended in connection with a viral video that appears to show authorities beating a suspect outside a Crawford County convenience store, officials said.
Update 1:40 p.m. EDT Aug. 22: The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office identified the deputies seen in the video as Deputy Zack King and Deputy Levi White, and the police officer as Mulberry police Officer Thell Riddle. In a statement posted on social media, deputies noted that an address circulating for King did not belong to the deputy.
“We are cooperating with all aspects of their investigation and will make a statement to the public at a later time,” authorities said.
Deputies said Sunday that King and White have been suspended as Arkansas State Police investigate. Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter said Riddle was also suspended.
Original report: According to The Associated Press and the Southwest Times Record, the incident occurred shortly after 10:30 a.m. Sunday outside the Kountry Xpress store on Georgia Ridge Drive in Mulberry. Authorities said they confronted the man, who had been accused of threatening employees at a store in Alma earlier that day, the outlets reported. Police said the man then pushed and punched a deputy, the AP reported.
A bystander’s now-viral video appeared to capture the man’s arrest, according to the news agency. In the clip, a law enforcement officer appears to hold the man down as another officer punches the suspect, the AP reported. A third officer appears to knee the suspect, the AP reported.
In a statement Sunday night, Arkansas State Police said they are investigating “the use of force by two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry police officer” in the incident. Although the department did not identify the officers under investigation, it identified the suspect as 27-year-old Randall Worcester of Goose Creek, South Carolina.
“Worcester is charged with second-degree battery, resisting arrest, refusal to submit, possessing an instrument of crime, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening and second-degree assault,” read the statement, which added that “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.”
Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante said his department has suspended the deputies “pending the outcome of the investigation.”
“I hold all my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate measures in this matter,” the statement read.
The Mulberry police officer also was placed on administrative leave, according to the AP.
“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 said in a statement.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson took to Twitter to respond to the incident.
“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,” he tweeted.
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.— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) August 22, 2022
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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