Charges filed against California man beaten by sheriff's deputies in horse pursuit
A California man received a $650,000 settlement after being beaten by around a dozen sheriff's deputies in a failed attempt to flee on horseback. He has now been charged with felonies linked to the incident.
The criminal complaint was filed in a San Bernardino County court. It has charged Francis Pusok with a total of 14 crimes, like grand theft of livestock, animal cruelty, evading a police officer, and reckless driving. Many of these charges predated the incident that took place on April 9.
According to the complaint, Pusok, 30, was under the influence of marijuana and amphetamines at the time. A copy of the complaint was published online by the Los Angeles Times.
Pusok's attorneys, James Terrell and Sharon Brunner, told the Los Angeles Times that they were disappointed, but were not at all surprised. They described the prosecution as retaliatory, unfair, unjust and inequitable.
The footage that carried Pusok's beating and arrest surfaced in the middle of a national outcry over police violence against suspects, mainly minorities. This all followed high-profile police killings of unarmed black men in cities, including Ferguson, Missouri, and New York over the last year.
Officials said that initially, Pusok drove off in a car when officers visited at a residence to serve a search warrant as part of an identity-theft investigation.
Soon after leaving he ditched the car, covered a short distance and stole a horse. Thereafter, deputies in off-road vehicles and helicopters closed in on him in rugged, hilly terrain near the town of Apple Valley.
In the video, Pusok is shown riding the horse, falling off, scrambling to his feet, and then throwing himself on the ground with his arms outstretched when two deputies ran up with Tasers drawn.
The video showed the two deputies pouncing on Pusok, taking turns punching and stomping on him again and again while some more officers join in and delivered repeated blows and kicks. They beat him for at least two minutes.
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