MULBERRY, Ark. — Three Arkansas law enforcement officers were suspended, and state police launched an investigation after a video posted on social media showed two of them beating a suspect while a third officer held him on the ground.
Authorities said that the officers responded to reports of threats made outside of a Mulberry convenience store on Sunday. It is located about 140 miles (210 kilometers) north of Little Rock and near the Oklahoma border.
Video shows an officer striking the suspect with his fist. Another can also be seen hitting him with his knee. Third officer holds the suspect against the sidewalk.
Two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and one Mulberry police officer were suspended, city and county authorities said.
Arkansas State Police indicated that the agency will investigate the use force. Randal Worcester of Goose Creek in South Carolina was identified as the suspect by state police.
The state police stated that he was transported to the hospital and treated. He then was released from jail and booked in Van Buren County Jail on several charges including resisting arrest, second-degree battery and terroristic threats.
According to prison booking information Worcester appears to be white as well as the officers.
Officials have yet to release the identities of the officers.
“I hold all my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate measures in this matter,” Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante said.
In a statement released Sunday evening, Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory said the community and the department take the matter “very seriously.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Twitter that the incident “will be investigated pursuant to the video evidence and the request of the prosecuting attorney.”
The spotlight has been on police conduct since George Floyd’s murder in 2020, when he was arrested in Minneapolis by officers. Cellphone video shows often violent police interactions.
The nationwide demonstrations brought attention to the brutality of officers who often target Black Americans.
Mulberry is an Arkansas small-town of just 1,600 inhabitants, located right next to Interstate 40. It’s a major route that connects California with North Carolina.
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