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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The arrest in Mulberry is leading to questions about law enforcement training, specifically around the use of force.
Crawford County Sheriff Jim Damante said the three law enforcement officers involved in the incident were veterans. In a press conference, when Sheriff Damante was asked about how often the department undergoes use-of-force training, he said it was a tough question.
“You’re asking me hard questions, I’m not sure the last time,” Damante said.
Damante said he thinks the last time the three law enforcement officers received use-of-force training was during the training academy, which would have been a few years ago because the deputies and officer are veterans.
“The actual use of force, I think in the academy, I’m going to say the academy was the last time,” Damante said.
Sheriff Damante also said the video showing the law enforcement officers pinning down Randal Worcester and smashing his head against the concrete is concerning to him.
“Everything concerns me about this case,” Damante said.
Governor Asa Hutchinson also expressed his concern Monday.
“That is reprehensible conduct in which a suspect is beat in that fashion we saw a glimpse of that, it is under investigation,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson also said the deputies’ and officer’s actions are not indicative of the Arkansas law enforcement community as a whole.
“That response was not consistent with the training that they receive as certified officers with the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy,” Hutchinson said.
While the attorney, Russell A. Wood, for the two deputies, Zack King and Levi White, issued a press release in regards to the incident. In the press release, the following statement is included:
“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.”
Governor Hutchinson said law enforcement training has been enhanced since the death of George Floyd with the installment of a task force. However, he said if the training isn’t followed, incidents like the one in Crawford County can happen.
“We increased the number of training hours so that’s in place, now the challenge is you can train, you can train, you can train, but officers have to follow that training and put into practice,” Hutchinson said.
KNWA/FOX 24 submitted FOIA requests to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and Mulberry Police Department for more information on their use-of-force policies and training.
Sheriff Damante also said the Mulberry Police Department has dashcam video of the incident and the attorney for the deputies is requesting for that to be released.