An onlooker captured cellphone footage of three officers beating a man outside a Mulberry gas station. Two of the three have now lost their jobs.

A special prosecutor in Little Rock, Emily White, will review the case of three officers who participated in the violent arrest of a man in Mulberry.

The appointment came at the request of Rinda Baker, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’s 21st judicial district, which includes Crawford County where the arrest took place Aug. 21.

Advertisement

“I cannot recuse, but if I feel there is a conflict with me handling a case, I can request that the Court appoint a special prosecutor,” Baker explained in an email today.

Baker said another special prosecutor will handle the case against Randall Worcester II, the man arrested by two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry police officer.

Advertisement

Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said late yesterday that the state police’s part of the investigation — into the police’s use of force — was “winding down.”

The FBI and the Justice Department also are investigating the matter.

Advertisement

All three officers have been placed on leave during the investigation. An onlooker caught video of the officers pummeling Worcester into the cement outside Kountry Xpress in Mulberry. Worcester was treated at a hospital and then jailed on assault charges. He later was released on bail.

The police were trying to arrest Worcester after he allegedly threatened a store clerk and spat on her.

Attorneys for Worcester filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith. Defendants are the Mulberry Police Department, the Crawford County sheriff’s office, Sheriff Jimmy Damante, Mulberry officer Thell Riddle, sheriff’s deputies Zachary King and Levi White, the county and the city of Mulberry.

The lawsuit contends the officers never read Worcester his Miranda rights under the U.S. Constitution and that they “used violent, excessive force against Mr. Worcester.”

Advertisement

After “pinning his hands and arms behind his back,” officers “continued to repeatedly punch, kick, and knee Mr. Worcester in the face, head, back, stomach
and legs,” the lawsuit says.

“At one point, Defendant White picked up Mr. Worcester by the head and
slammed his face and head into the concrete pavement,” the complaint alleges. “Mr. Worcester attempted to protect himself during the Defendant officers’ physical assault, but to no avail as the Defendant officers had him pinned to the ground.”

The sheriff has said Worcester suffered only scrapes and bruises and that one of his deputies suffered a concussion. But the lawsuit contends that Worcester “suffered an injury to his face, body, and head for which he will need continual medical treatment” and that he “sustained permanent injuries.”

The lawsuit also says local authorities had failed to respond to previous complaints involving alleged “acts of battery, assault, and negligence” by Riddle, White and King.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Worcester previously was reported as being from South Carolina, but the lawsuit says he was an Oklahoma resident.