CRAWFORD CO. Ark. – The sheriff in Crawford County has come out with a video statement days after a viral video of an arrest by two of his deputies and another officer set off a social media firestorm.
Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante released a video Thursday of his position on, and his department’s response to, the arrest of Randal Worcester Sunday.
Video of the arrest by Deputy Levi White, Deputy Zack King and Mulberry Police Department Officer Threll Riddle appeared to show the apparent beating of Worchester. It has since gone viral and become an international news story.
In his statement Thursday, Damante indicated the viral video has created problems for his department.
“Viral videos create a lot of heat but little light,” he said. “Social media chatter is full of self-proclaimed experts on the use of force.”
Social media has created additional problems, the sheriff said.
“Employees of our office have been subject to online harassment and threats,” Damante said.
Damante spoke about Worcester, who he classified several times as a “violent criminal,” and what his department was doing in response to the Sunday arrest.
The video begins with Damante outlining Worcester’s actions that day, including “slamming that deputies head into the concrete causing a dangerous concussion.”
“[Worcester is] a violent criminal with a history of assaulting police,” Damante said.
He then explained his department’s response, including placing its two officers involved in the arrest on administrative leave. His department is conducting an investigation of the incident, which will not interfere with other investigations, he said.
The video Thursday seems to soften the tone from Damante in regards to the officers involved in the arrest. Speaking to reporters earlier in the week, the sheriff said everything in the case was concerning to him.
Worcester, who was booked into the Crawford County Detention Center Sunday, was released on bond Monday.