Crime & Justice

San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies kick, punch man after horse pursuit

A screenshot from NBC video shows two sheriff's deputies attacking a man who had led them on a car chase before stealing a horse.
A screenshot from NBC video shows two sheriff's deputies attacking a man who had led them on a car chase before stealing a horse.
Courtesy NBC 4

A man who led authorities on a pursuit in a vehicle and continued the chase on a stolen horse was tased and beaten by several San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies in Apple Valley Thursday afternoon.

NBC Los Angeles captured aerial video of the incident, which shows the man — identified by sheriff's officials as Francis Jared Pusok — falling off the stolen horse. Two deputies then tase Pusok, who appears to outstretch his arms before putting them behind his back. The deputies can be seen kicking Pusok in the head several times, while another kicked him in the groin.

Pusok was kicked 17 times and punched 37 times by upwards of 13 officers, according to NBC Los Angeles.

You can watch video of the incident below, but beware that it contains graphic violence: 

Deputies were serving Pusok, 30, with a search warrant related to an identity theft investigation at his home on Zuni Road in Apple Valley when he fled in a vehicle, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said in a statement. After abandoning the vehicle, Pusok stole a horse from a group of people near Deep Creek Hot Springs and fled with deputies in pursuit on foot.

The statement said a sheriff's helicopter transported a team of deputies to the area, engaging Pusok before he he fell off the horse and was beaten.

San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon said, "The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately," according to the statement. "In addition, members of the Specialized Investigations Detail are responding to conduct the criminal investigation."

Two deputies suffered dehydration, and another was kicked by the horse during the altercation, according to the statement.

Pusok and the injured deputies were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Pusok had a number of criminal convictions in San Bernardino County. He was convicted of resisting arrest in 2014, court records say. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and resisting arrest in 2013, while a dozen felony weapons and cruelty to children charges in the same case were dismissed. In 2011, he was convicted of an infraction charge of using offensive or fighting words.

— This story has been updated.