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The stepfather of a man who was brutally beaten by a trio of Arkansas police officers has said he hopes they “burn out” as he plans to file a lawsuit.
Randal Worcester, 27, was restrained and beaten by three officers at a gas station in Mulberry, near Little Rock, on August 21.
He was taken to hospital but was not seriously injured and has been charged with assault, resisting arrest and breaking and entering, among others.
Worcester’s stepfather, Eric Wedding, told The Daily Beast that the case needs to be “highlighted by the media.”
The US Air Force veteran, who raised Worcester as his own son, added: “I hope they burn out. Enough is enough.’
The three officers, Deputy Zack King, Deputy Levi White and Mulberry Police Officer Thell Riddle, were suspended after the video surfaced.
They were called to a gas station after reports that Worcester, from South Carolina, was threatening a worker with “cutting his face” and spitting on staff.
When several officers went to confront him, he allegedly pushed an officer to the ground and punched him in the back of the head, responding officers said.
Worcester was already handcuffed by the police when they launched their brutal attack on him.
All three officers were involved in the incident, but Riddle in particular can be seen hitting Worcester.
The veteran officer can be seen repeatedly punching Worcester along with the other two.
Riddle worked as a police chief in a small Oklahoma town, Gans, before starting work as an officer in Mulberry in 2017.
The footage has been shared and viewed more than a million times in the span of a day, prompting state police to investigate the incident.
Worcester was rescued by family members and they later discussed whether he would take legal action against the police.
Sources told TMZ that the family has spoken with multiple attorneys, with attorney Bobby DiCello from Cleveland, Ohio reportedly making plans to travel and speak with Worcester. DiCello called the suspension of the three officers a “good start,” but he did not rule out legal action.
Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter said he was “shocked and disgusted” and promised a full investigation.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also promised the state would get to the bottom of the matter.
That investigation will determine whether the officers were justified in using force and facing charges.
“We are cooperating with all aspects of his investigation and will make a statement to the public at a later date,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Worcester, meanwhile, was booked on charges of battery in the second degree, assault in the first degree, resisting arrest, possession of an instrumentality of crime, trespassing, criminal mischief in the second degree, terroristic threat in the first degree and assault in the second grade.
He was photographed leaving the Crawford County Jail on Monday after posting $15,000 bail, with a burst blood vessel in his left eye, likely as a result of the officers’ attack.
The photos show the suspect, who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds, according to jail records, surrounded by reporters asking questions about the incident, while he is accompanied by his attorney.
Video of the altercation, which took place outside the Kountry Xpress on Georgia Ridge Road, shows Riddle punching him in the head with clenched fists even after he was restrained.
The Justice Department has launched a federal civil rights investigation into the incident.
Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante issued a statement Sunday night, saying two county deputies were suspended in the state police’s investigation into the incident and the sheriff’s office’s internal review.
The Mulberry police officer was also suspended.
“I hold all of my employees accountable for their actions and will take appropriate action in this matter,” Damante said.
In a statement issued late Sunday, Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory said the officer involved in the incident is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“The City of Mulberry and the Mulberry Police Department take these investigations very seriously,” Gregory said.
According to the Arkansas Times, Naomi Johnson’s sister said that she arrived at a gas station when she saw a barefoot man sitting on the sidewalk and talking to police officers. She then saw the man get up and try to run away, but was knocked down.
Johnson’s sister reported that she thought the man seemed mentally challenged, the Arkansas Times reported.
Johnson’s sister was in her car with a friend at the time, the newspaper reported. The couple in the footage can be heard yelling at the officer to stop beating the man.
Audio is hard to pick up from the footage, but it appears an officer is telling the people in the car to “back up.”
Randal Worcester Quick and Facts
- The Justice Department on Monday confirmed they have launched a federal civil rights investigation into the actions of three Arkansas police officers
- The trio were caught on camera brutally beating a man as they held him down during an arrest in Mulberry, near Little Rock, on Sunday
- Randal Worcester, 27, was accused of threatening a worker at a convenience store
- Deputy Zack King, Deputy Levi White and Mulberry officer Thell Riddle have all been suspended
- Worcester was taken to the hospital and released and is now considering legal action against the officers
- His stepfather, a US Air Force veteran, said that he hopes the cops who attacked Worcester ‘burn’