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A a federal investigation has been opened in the viral video of three Arkansas law enforcement officers violently beating a suspect, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday.
Hutchinson said the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division will review the footage, which shows an officer punching suspect Randal Worcester in the head and banging his head into cement while another officer punches him. kicking. A third officer is seen holding him down.
“It is reprehensible conduct in which a suspect is beaten in this way,” Hutchinson said at a press conference.
“We don’t have full details, and this suspect certainly had a legitimate history of concern to officers, but the response was not consistent with the training they receive, continued the Republican Governor.
The three officers involved have been identified as Crawford County Deputies Zack King and Levi White and Mulberry Police Officer Thell Riddle. All three have been suspended pending investigation.
The beating reportedly stemmed from an allegation that Worcester spat in the face of a store clerk and threatened him, prompting police to respond to the incident. But police say Worcester attacked an officer before the violent arrest that was seen on video.
A lawyer representing the two sheriff’s deputies said that at one point Worcester “became enraged and violently attacked Deputy White grabbing him by the legs, lifting him up and punching him head first , on the concrete parking lot”.
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After Deputy White hit his head on the concrete, Worcester allegedly climbed on top of him and “started punching him in the back of the head and in the face,” attorney Russell Wood said. Deputy White reportedly suffered a concussion and continues to experience symptoms.
Worcester was convicted on a slew of charges including second-degree assault, resisting arrest, refusing to submit and possession of an instrumentality of crime, criminal trespassing, criminal mischief, threatening terrorism and second-degree assault. degree.
The 27-year-old suspect was released from the Crawford County Justice Center on $15,000 bail on Monday.
Arkansas State Police, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and the Mulberry Police Department have all confirmed they are investigating the incident, which is part of a separate state effort. of the federal investigation.
“The FBI and the Arkansas State Police will gather all available evidence and ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The federal investigation is separate and independent from the ongoing investigation. of State.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.