Three police officers in the U.S. state of Arkansas have been suspended after a video circulated widely online over the weekend showing them punching and kicking a suspect on the ground outside of a convenience store.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office suspended two deputies while the city of Mulberry placed a local police officer on administrative leave pending an investigation, the agencies said in separate statements. The officers were not identified.
"I, like many of you, was shocked and sickened by what I saw," Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter said in a statement posted on the city's Facebook account on Sunday evening.
Police use of force in the United States has been in the spotlight in the aftermath of a series of deadly incidents in various cities in recent years involving people of color. The killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in June 2020 was captured on cell phone video that went viral, sparking protests around the nation.
The suspect who was being beaten in Arkansas appeared to be white, as were all three officers involved in the incident.
The video in Arkansas on Sunday, taken by a bystander and shared widely on social media and by news networks, showed an officer punching a suspect in the face as he held his head to the pavement while another officer kicked the man in his legs and midsection.
A third officer was seen holding the suspect down on the ground. The video ends after one of the officers points at the bystander and orders them to stop recording.
The incident began when officers responded to a call to a convenience store in Mulberry, a community of about 1,500 that lies 130 miles northwest of Little Rock, the state capital, the Arkansas State Police said in announcing that it had opened an use of force investigation.
The suspect, identified as Randall Worcester, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, was taken to a hospital for examination and treatment. He was later released from the hospital and jailed.
Worcester faces several charges, including second-degree battery, resisting arrest and criminal trespassing, state police said in a statement.