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Dept. of Justice launches civil rights investigation in violent Arkansas arrest

The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into whether Randal Worcester's civil rights were violated after officers are seen beating him in a video.

ARKANSAS, USA — The Department of Justice has begun investigating whether a man's civil rights were violated after a viral video showed three Arkansas officers beating him on the ground.

The investigation includes the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the FBI in Little Rock.

"The FBI and the Arkansas State Police will collect all available evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time,” said Charlie Robbins with the Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

In the video, the deputies with the Crawford County Sheriff's Office, Levi White and Zack King, and Mulberry Police Officer Thell Riddle are seen holding 27-year-old Randal Worcester down on the ground, kneeling on him and slamming his face to the ground.

According to reports from police, Worcester had been accused of threatening to cut off a convenience store employee's face and spitting on them before the three officers confronted him outside another convenience store in Mulberry, near Exit 20.

Worcester had been traveling on his bike at the time. Police say that he had handed a pocketknife to officers before he suddenly attacked Officer White, which lead to the events seen in the video recorded by a citizen.

All three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave and are being investigated by the Arkansas State Police for their use of force in Worcester's arrest.

RELATED: Investigation into Arkansas officers after video shows violent arrest

On Monday, Worcester was released from the Crawford County Detention Center on $15,000 bail. Attorneys Carrie Jernigan and David Powell are representing him.

"There just has to be a point where if the ability to subdue— once that ends— you cannot use excessive force," Jernigan said. "It violates the Fourth Amendment that is to protect us from excessive force against law."

Russel Wood, the attorney representing Deputy Levi White and Corporal Zack King, called for the dash cam video footage from Officer Thell's vehicle to be released. Wood sent a statement to 5NEWS saying that the attack on Officer White that allegedly took place prior to the events in the video involved Worcester "body slamming him, head first, on the concrete parking lot."

"The amount of force authorized under the law is always relative to the offense the suspect commits. In this case, this violent suspect showed his willingness to commit serious violence and then he continued to resist arrest, spit and bite at the officers, and refused to allow the officers to get the handcuffs on him- hence the necessity for three officers," Wood said in the statement.

Credit: KFSM

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