Arkansas authorities wrap up investigation of violent arrest

Randal Worcester walks out of the Crawford County Justice Center in Van Buren, Ark., Monday, Aug. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State Police have given a special prosecutor the findings of their investigation into law enforcement officers who were caught on video beating and holding down a suspect during an arrest last month, a spokesman said Thursday.

State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said the investigative file of the officers’ Aug. 21 arrest of Randal Worcester was submitted late Friday to special prosecutor Emily White, who confirmed she has received the case file but said a charging decision has yet to be made.

An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was recorded in a bystander’s cellphone video repeatedly punching and kneeing Worcester in the head before grabbing his hair and slamming him against the pavement. As that was happening, another officer held Worcester down, while a third kneed him over and over.

State Police investigated the arrest by Mulberry officer Thell Riddle and Crawford County Sheriff’s deputies Zachary King and Levi White after the arrest outside the Kountry Xpress store in the small town of Mulberry.

Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante has said Worcester was being questioned for threatening a clerk at a nearby convenience store and that he attacked one of deputies. The deputy suffered a concussion, Damante has said.

The three officers were suspended after the video came to light and Worcester filed a federal lawsuit against the officers and local officials.

Worcester was treated at a hospital then jailed on charges including second-degree battery and resisting arrest. He was released the following day on a $15,000 bond.