SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — The attorney for a Southern California man who was beaten by several sheriff’s deputies following a 2½ hour-long chase involving a stolen horse said Saturday that his client is doing fairly well while receiving medical attention in jail.
Francis Pusok’s violent arrest, which was filmed by a TV news helicopter, has led to an FBI civil rights investigation and 10 deputies being placed in leave pending an internal probe.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the video “disturbed and troubled” him and appeared to show an excessive use of force.
Pusok, 30, fled by car and then on the horse in the desert on Thursday while deputies chased him on foot after trying to serve a search warrant in an identity-theft investigation.
The video shows Pusok, dressed in bright red clothing, falling from the horse as a deputy ran up and fired a Taser, which officials said was ineffective.
It shows Pusok face down with his legs outstretched and hands behind his back as a deputy threw punches and kicks, while another kicked him in the crotch. Other deputies arrived moments later.
Pusok’s lawyer, Jim Terrell wouldn’t say why his client fled, but he told the San Bernardino Sun it was the wrong thing to do.
Pusok has a slew of vehicle code violations and pleaded no contest to several criminal charges, including multiple instances of resisting arrest, attempted robbery, animal cruelty and fighting or offensive words, according to San Bernardino County Superior Court records.
McMahon said deputies had previously been called to a home where Pusok allegedly made threats to kill a deputy and fatally shot a family puppy in front of his family members.
Terrell said his client’s criminal history isn’t relevant to this case.
Pusok is being held on suspicion of felony evading, theft of a horse and possession of stolen property.
The beating is the latest in a string of recent videotaped incidents involving police officers using extreme force on suspects, including the shooting death of an unarmed man as he ran from a police officer last weekend in North Charleston, South Carolina.
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