Legal experts broke down what citizens can do if they witness a violent arrest or similar situation.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A viral video of a Mulberry police officer and two Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly using excessive force has sparked a lot of questions.
One of them is: what should you do if you witness something like a violent arrest?
In the video, an individual can be heard off camera telling police “don’t beat him, he needs his medicine.”
RELATED: Attorneys for man beaten during violent arrest in Arkansas speak out
The scene has been viewed by millions and left many feeling shocked, including attorney Greg Bryant.
“You’re kidding me. That’s what I thought, you’re kidding me,” Bryant said.
Looking at the video, Bryant said that criminal charges could be a possibility.
“There are three cops who are going to be facing federal prosecution most likely,” Bryant said.
The three officers, now identified as Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies Levi White and Zach King, and Mulberry Police officer Thell Riddle, have been removed from their duties.
They will all face federal and state investigations.
Bryant said that one of the best things to do if you witness something that seems wrong is to simply pull out your phone.
“The most effective thing right now is to do the recording and hope that it stops before death,” Bryant said.
Arkansas lawmakers passed a bill in 2015 stating a public officer or employee shall not:
Prohibit a person from using a recording device carried on or near the person in a place that is open to and accessible to the general public or any private property where the person is lawfully present unless the act of recording or the location of the recording person.
“There’s no law that says you can’t record what someone exposes themselves they are doing in a public setting,” Bryant explained.
He added that while recording isn’t against the law, intervening in any arrest is illegal, whether it is violent or not.
“There is no right of a citizen to interfere with the performance of a law enforcement officer in his lawful duties,” Bryant added.
Bryant also said it’s important to know that it’s unlawful for an officer to tell a citizen to stop recording in a public area.
If you are a distance away from being involved in any way in their lawful duties, you are well within your rights.
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