Three Arkansas law enforcement officers were caught on video Sunday morning beating, kneeing and slamming a man’s head to the ground while he did not appear to be resisting.
When one of the cops realized they were being recorded, he looks towards the camera and said, “Back the fuck off!” – even though the witness was more than 25 feet away. Another cop tells the witness to get back in her car.
But the video ended up going viral on social media, resulting in the three cops suspended. The identities of the cops have not been released but two are Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and the other is a Mulberry police officer. Arkansas State Police has been tasked to investigate the incident.
The victim was identified as Randal Ray Worcester, 27, who was charged with a litany of charges, including battery, assault, trespassing, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and making terrorist threats, according to KARK.
The witness recording said Worcester was shoeless and appeared homeless and mentally distressed.
Police say they responded to a call of a man who had spat in the face of a convenience store clerk, threatening to “cut off their face,” according to 5 News Online.
They say he was cooperative at first but then turned violent, shoving a deputy to the ground, then punching him in the back of the head.
But that part was not captured on camera nor did police offer any more details on the alleged injury suffered by the officer. Worcester, however, was transported to the hospital with head injuries.
Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter issued the following statement:
To the Citizens of Mulberry,
I was contacted by Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Greggory around 1:30 p.m. 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 social media.
I, like many of you, was shocked and sickened by what I saw. I immediately coordinated with our police chief to ensure appropriate policy was followed resulting in the officer being placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation and requesting investigation by the Arkansas State Police as an outside agency. I then coordinated a response with Chief Greggory to inform the media and our citizens, via social media, to make them aware of city actions. The Arkansas State Police are investigating the incident and will provide the results when completed. I have been coordinating all afternoon with appropriate individuals and agencies ensuring the City of Mulberry is taking the proper actions. Once the investigation by the Arkansas State Police is completed, we will take the results of the investigations very seriously and take any actions necessary to ensure this never happens again. We have continually instructed our officers to respond professionally in all situations. I want to assure you, the citizens of Mulberry, and those who visit our city, that Mulberry Police Officers will treat all people with dignity and respect. Should this ever show not to be the case action will be immediate and decisive. Our officers are trained and briefed on how to respond appropriately to any incident. The safety and security of all who come in contact with our officers is our top priority and will endeavor to the best of my ability to make sure this is always the case.
UPDATE: The cops have been identified as Crawford County sheriff’s deputies Zack King and Levi White and Mulberry police officer Thell Riddle, according to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
UPDATE II: The United States Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the matter, according to NBC News which published the following statement from Charlie Robbins, a spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and the FBI Little Rock Field Office have opened a civil rights investigation into the August 21st incident in Crawford County involving Randal Worcester,” Robbins said. “The FBI and the Arkansas State Police will collect all available evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time.”
Watch the video below.