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Deputies fired weeks after video surfaced of violent arrest in Arkansas

Two Crawford County Deputies have been fired more than a month after an investigation was launched into a violent arrest in Mulberry, Arkansas.

MULBERRY, Ark. — Two Crawford County Deputies have been fired over a month after an investigation was opened into a violent arrest in Mulberry, Arkansas. 

According to an administrative assistant with the Crawford County Sheriff's Office, deputy Zack King and corporal Levi White were both terminated from the department "maybe a week or so ago," but could not give an exact date.

Their attorney Russell Wood had no comment at this time. 

Mulberry officer Thell Riddle also involved in the investigation is still on administrative leave.  

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

In the viral video, the three law enforcement officers are seen on top of a man at a convenience store in Mulberry, Arkansas on Sunday, Aug. 21, which led to the investigation into the use of excessive force. The man has been identified as 27-year-old Randal Worcester of Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Worcester's attorney, Adam Rose, released a statement to 5NEWS saying, "It’s true justice to see that Crawford County has decided to do the right thing and fire these officers. Their abuse of power and continual belittling of the community has finally come to an end. Now they will seek due justice for their repeated violent acts."

According to Sheriff Jimmy Damante with the Crawford County Sheriff's Office (CCSO), around 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, Alma police officers were called about a man making terroristic threats to a convenience store employee. Worcester allegedly spit on the employee and threatened to "cut off their face."

Sheriff Damante says Worcester then traveled on a bike to Mulberry, near Exit 20, where the Mulberry officer and the deputies met with him. The conversation began calm and Worcester handed them a pocket knife he had, but the sheriff says Worcester then began attacking one of the deputies by pushing him to the ground and punching the back of his head, leading to what was seen in the video. 

In the video, the deputies and the officer are seen holding Worcester down on the ground, kneeling on him and slamming his face to the ground.

Sheriff Damante says one of the deputies was told to go to the hospital to get checked for their injuries. 

Worcester was taken to an area hospital and then booked into jail. The extent of his injuries is not known at this time. He faces charges of terroristic threatening, resisting arrest, second-degree battery, trespassing, two counts of first-degree assault, criminal mischief and being in possession of an instrument of crime, according to Sheriff Damante. 

Arkansas State Police launched an investigation into the incident and reported its findings to special prosecutor Emily White in early September. White hopes to have the investigation complete in the next couple of months to determine whether or not the use of force was justified. 

Worcester appeared in court on Monday, Aug. 22, in Crawford County, and was given a public defender. A $15,000 bond was set at the time. According to the prosecutor's office, he has a prior battery on a police officer charge in Oklahoma from 2021. 

Worcester was seen walking out of the Crawford County Detention Center a few hours after his court appearance.

In a press conference in August, Sheriff Damante says he "probably" would not have known about the extent of violence used had it not been for the video posted on social media.

When asked about the last time Crawford County deputies received use of force training, sheriff Damante said he wasn't sure of the last time they were trained.

Damante did say that Crawford County deputies use “whatever force is necessary to gain control of a person who is violently attacking you or resisting arrest." 

In August, attorneys representing Worcester held a press conference with two other Arkansans who claim that deputy White used excessive force against them during their recent arrests.

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