State police launched an investigation Sunday into the use of force against a man by the Arkansas police, which was captured on viral video.
The video was shot outside a supermarket in Mulberry on Sunday when three officers, two from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and one from the Mulberry Police Department, arrested a man on charges of trespassing and other crimes, the Arkansas State Police said in a statement.
The suspect, 27-year-old Randall Worcester of Goose Creek, South Carolina, was hospitalized with unknown injuries before being jailed, state police said.
The officers involved have not been identified. Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante said in a statement Sunday that the two deputies seen on video had been suspended until the end of the state investigation.
Mulberry Police then said in a statement that their officer has also been suspended pending the investigation, NBC affiliate KARK of Little Rock reported.
“The Mulberry Municipality and the Mulberry Police Department take these investigations very seriously and hold all their officers accountable for their actions,” the police said.
Representatives of law enforcement organizations across the state representing regular officers and deputies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It is not clear whether the agents involved have legal representation.
Damante, the Crawford County sheriff, said he requested a state police investigation. Later in the day, Governor Asa Hutchinson said one was underway.
It’s not clear what happened before the shot, which appeared to have been shot from a vehicle in the Kountry Xpress market.
Video shows Worcester on the ground, twisting his body in different directions, while an officer closest to his head punches him with a right fist and then a left fist. At one point, the same officer pulls the suspect’s head off the ground and forcibly pushes it down.
Another law enforcement officer, the one closest to the man’s feet, appears to hit Worcester with a knee several times. The third officer appears to be holding Worcester by the waist using body weight.
Towards the end of the video, a woman in the car yells at the officers to stop, and one of the three responds by pointing at the camera. Another yells for her to step back, with an expletive.
According to KARK, the Crawford County deputies arrived in Worcester after a shopkeeper’s clerk reported to another police department that a person had spit on him and threatened him. That department asked neighboring jurisdictions to look out for the suspect, the station reported.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department said the suspect initially cooperated, but the men eventually got into a physical confrontation.
The state investigators focus solely on the use of violence in the store, and they will forward their conclusion, including possible recommended charges, to local prosecutors.
A detailed list of charges for which the suspect has been detained, according to state police, includes: second-degree battery, resisting arrest, refusal to submit, possession of an instrument of crime, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, terrorist threat, and second-degree assault.
Sarah Kaufman contributed.