Three Arkansas law enforcement officers were suspended, and the state police launched an investigation soon after a video posted on social media showed two of the three police officers were seen beating the suspect, while a third officer held him to the ground.
The three police officers were responding to a report of a man making threats outside a convenience store in the small town of Mulberry, about 220 kilometers northwest of Little Rock, near the Oklahoma border, on Sunday (21/8).
The video shows a policeman punching the suspect with his fist, while another beat him with his knee. A third policeman detained him on the sidewalk.
The city and county authorities on Monday (22/8) said two deputies sheriff Crawford County and one cop in Mulberry were suspended.
The Arkansas State Police said it would investigate the use of force. They identified the beaten suspect as Randal Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina. He was taken to hospital for treatment, but was later released and jailed in Van Buren County on several charges, including committing a violent crime, resisting arrest and making threats.
According to information at the prison, Worcester and the three policemen involved in beating him were both white.
Authorities have not released the names of the three policemen.
Sheriff Crawford County’s Jimmy Damante said “I hold all my employees accountable for their actions, and will take appropriate action on this matter.”
In a statement released late Sunday, Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory said the community and its department were taking the matter very seriously.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson tweeted that the incident “will be investigated based on video evidence and the prosecution’s request.”
Mobile phone videos of often violent police interactions have highlighted the behavior of officers in recent years, especially since the murder of George Floyd when he was arrested by police in Minneapolis in May 2020.
Mulberry is a small town of 1,600 people in western Arkansas, right on Interstate 40, a major road corridor that stretches from California to North Carolina. [em/pp]