‘Concerning’: Investigation into viral arrest continues amid growing frustration

MULBERRY, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) – After a video captured three police officers hitting and kneeing a man during an arrest Sunday, many across Arkansas and the nation are speaking out.

The arrest happened on Aug. 21 outside the Kountry Xpress convenience store in Mulberry, according to content partner KARK.

A 30-second clip shows Crawford County deputies Zack King and Levi White and Mulberry Police Department Officer Thell Riddle arresting 27-year-old Randal Worcester of South Carolina.

In the video, the officers are seen kneeing Worcester, punching him in the face, and smashing his head into the ground.

Since its release, the video has been viewed over a million times.

KARK said all three officers have been suspended while an agent with the Arkansas State Police investigates the incident.

Authorities said Worcester has been at the center of a police bulletin after a store clerk in a nearby town reported he spit on them and made threats.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said Worcester was cooperative when he was first approached by officers, but when they began arresting him, things took a turn.

Sheriff Damante said none of the officers had bodycams, but he noted a patrol car’s dashcam caught the moments leading up to the arrest.

“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 at a briefing. He added everything about the case is “concerning” to him.

Worcester was booked into the Crawford County Detention Center on several charges, including battery and resisting arrest. He was released on bond Monday, Aug. 22.

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Attorneys for Worcester released a statement later that afternoon, claiming the dashcam video would show a “full, unedited version of events” preceding the viral video. They asked for the video’s full release.

According to KARK, the FBI is also investigating the incident for potential civil rights violations. They released the following statement:

“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.”

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