MULBERRY, Ark. – There was growing frustration across Arkansas and the nation Monday after a video captured three police officers hitting and kneeing a man during an arrest.
The arrest happened Sunday outside a convenience store in the town of Mulberry in Crawford County.
Randal Worcester, the man at the center of the arrest, was released from jail early Monday afternoon.
Records show that the arrest happened at the Kountry Xpress store late Sunday morning.
A 30-second clip shows Crawford County deputies Zack King and Levi White and Mulberry Police Department Officer Thell Riddle arresting Worcester, a 27-year-old from South Carolina.
In the video, the officers can be seen kneeing Worcester, punching him in the face and smashing his head into the cement.
A bystander recorded the arrest and the video, and it’s now been viewed millions of times online.
All three officers have been suspended while agents with the Arkansas State Police investigate the incident.
Local authorities said Worcester was at the center of a police bulletin after a store clerk in a nearby town reported that the South Carolina man spit on them and was threatening.
The sheriff’s office said Worcester was cooperative when first approached by law enforcement, but when the officer and deputies went in to arrest him things took a turn.
Crawford County Sheriff Jim Damante said Monday that none of the officers had bodycams but noted a patrol car’s dashcam caught the moments leading up to the now-viral video.
“The dashcam does bring to light other things that did happen there that initiated, that wasn’t caught on the citizen’s camera,” Damante told reporters. He added that everything about this case is concerning to him.
Worcester was booked into the Crawford County Detention Center on charges ranging from battery to resisting arrest.
He bonded out of the jail Monday afternoon, saying it was “pretty good today” as he was led to a vehicle by his lawyers.
While the Arkansas State Police continues to investigate the arrest, the sheriff said the FBI is also investigating for potential civil rights violations.
Late Monday afternoon, attorneys representing the deputies released a statement about the matter, claiming that the dash cam video would show a “full, unedited version of events” that preceded the viral video and asking for its release.
The attorneys also claimed that the actions of Deputy White with Worcester were “cordial up to the point the suspect viciously attacked him.” The statement also claimed White sustained a concussion, bruising around his eye and other injuries in the arrest.
The sheriff said the FBI is investigating for potential civil rights violations.
FBI officials released a statement saying:
“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. 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. The federal investigation is separate and independent from the ongoing state investigation.”