LONOKE COUNTY, Ark. – The prosecutor in Lonoke County has formally requested state authorities open an investigation into an alleged assault that happened in the county’s jail.

Officials with the Arkansas State Police confirmed the agency has received a request from the Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham.

“[The prosecutor is] seeking an investigation into allegations of a 2019 physical assault alleged to have occurred on an inmate incarcerated at the Lonoke County Jail,” ASP spokesman Bill Sadler said.

Sadler did not immediately provide details of the alleged “physical assault,” but the prosecutor’s request comes days after a KARK 4 News exclusive story with an inmate who outlined his 2019 encounter with Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley.

The inmate, Christopher Sallings, said earlier that Staley choked him. Video from the jail of the incident appears to show Staley grabbing Sallings with one hand and then two for about six seconds.

Staley said he grabbed Sallings by the shirt, but Sallings claims that was not true.

“He [Staley] was asking if I wanted to fight him or if I felt like hitting him,” Sallings recounted. “He continued to say more stuff, but I started to go in and out from being choked and having my head slammed against the wall.”

Staley defended his actions in an earlier statement.

“We were in the process of searching potentially dangerous prisoners suspected of having an improvised knife,” Staley wrote. “This prisoner was being loud and abusive and when he flinched toward me, I slammed my open hand into his upper chest/clavicle area.”

It’s unclear if the prosecutor’s request for an investigation will be approved.

“The request is being reviewed by the state police Criminal Investigation Division to determine whether there is sufficient cause to open an investigation,” Sadler said.

Staley has been in office since 2013 and is in the middle of a heated re-election. The sheriff claimed to have released the video when it originally happened.

“I released this video publicly years ago, and there were never any credible allegations of wrongdoing and the news media ignored it,” Staley wrote. “But, years later — at election time — it’s suddenly newsworthy. People know a last-minute smear when they see it.”

FBI Little Rock spokesperson Connor Hagan said the agency is aware of the video and the people involved, but Hagan could not confirm or deny if federal agents are investigating.

When reached for comment Friday, Staley restated he released the video publicly three years ago and all of this should’ve been looked into then.