Jason Kandel, NBC Los Angeles, April 10, 2015
The San Bernardino County Sheriff ordered an internal investigation Thursday into an arrest caught on NBC Los Angeles’ NewsChopper4 video that showed deputies beating a suspect when they caught up to him following a wild desert chase on horseback.
Aerial footage showed the man falling off the horse he was suspected of stealing during the pursuit in San Bernardino County Thursday afternoon.
He then appeared to be stunned with a Taser by a sheriff’s deputy and fall to the ground with his arms outstretched. Two deputies immediately descended on him and appeared to punch him in the head and knee him in the groin, according to the footage, reviewed several times by NBC4.
The group surrounding the man grew to 11 sheriff’s deputies.
In the two minutes after the man was stunned with a Taser, it appeared deputies kicked him 17 times, punched him 37 times and struck him with batons four times. Thirteen blows appeared to be to the head. The horse stood idly nearby.
The man did not appear to move from his position lying on the ground for more than 45 minutes. He did not appear to receive medical attention while deputies stood around him during that time.
The man, identified as Francis Jared Pusok, 30, of Apple Valley, was hospitalized with unknown injuries, authorities said.
Three deputies were injured during the search. Two suffered dehydration and a third was injured when kicked by the horse. All three were taken to a hospital for treatment.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told NBC4 he was launching an internal investigation into the actions of the deputies.
“I’m not sure if there was a struggle with the suspect,” McMahon said. “It appears there was in the early parts of the video. What happens afterwards, I’m not sure of, but we will investigate it thoroughly.”
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that while they understand police officers are authorized to use force, they “are deeply troubled by the video images that appear to show San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies beating a man after he surrendered.”