Three Arkansas enforcement officers have been suspended after a video showing the officers beating up a suspect spread on social media. The video, recorded Sunday, depicted two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies punching, kneeing and slamming the suspect’s head on the ground while a Mulberry police officer held the suspect down.
“I was contacted by Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory around 1:30 this afternoon making me aware of an incident with one of our officers that took place around 11 a.m. this morning. I was also made aware of a video taken by a bystander showing the incident that was circulating on social media,” Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter said in a Sunday statement. “I, like many of you, was shocked and sickened by what I saw.”
According to authorities, the officers were responding to a report of a man making threats outside the convenience store. That man, identified as 27-year-old Randall Worcester, was taken to a hospital for treatment and then to jail on multiple charges.
“Worcester is charged with 2nd degree battery, resisting arrest, refusal to submit, possessing an instrument of crime, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening, and 2nd degree assault,” the Arkansas Department of Public Safety said in a news release. In that release, the department announced state police has opened an investigation into the incident.
“The state police investigation will be limited to the use of physical force by the deputies and police officer,” the department said. “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.”
In a statement released Sunday evening, Gregory said the city officer involved in the incident is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante said the same for his two deputies. None of the Arkansas law enforcement officers involved in the suspect beating had been identified as of Monday morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.