MULBURY, Ark. – Three Arkansas law enforcement officers have been suspended and state police are investigating after a video posted on social media showed two of them beating a suspect while a third officer held him to the ground.
Officers were responding to a report of a man making threats outside a convenience store Sunday in the small town of Mulberry, about 140 miles (220 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, near the Oklahoma border, authorities said.
The video shows one officer hitting the suspect with a clenched fist, while another can be seen hitting the man with his knee. The third officer holds him down on the sidewalk.
Two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry police officer have been suspended, city and county officials said.
Arkansas State Police said the agency will investigate the use of force. State police identified the suspect as Randall Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina.
He was taken to a hospital for treatment, then released and booked into the Van Buren County Jail on multiple charges, including second-degree battery, resisting arrest and making terroristic threats, state police said.
Worcester is white according to jail booking information and the three officers involved also appear to be white.
Authorities have not released the names of the three officers.
“I hold all of my officers accountable for their actions and will take appropriate action in this matter,” said Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante.
In a statement released Sunday night, Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory said the community and department are taking the matter “very seriously.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said on Twitter that the incident “will be investigated based on video footage and the prosecutor’s request.”
Cell phone videos of often violent police interactions have put the spotlight on officer behavior in recent years, especially after The killing of George Floyd in 2020 while he was arrested by Minneapolis police.
The received nationwide protests called attention to officer brutality, which often targets black Americans.
Mulberry is a small town of 1,600 in western Arkansas just off Interstate 40, a major corridor that runs from California to North Carolina.
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