San Bernardino Sheriff Deputies Under Investigation After Release Of Police Beating Suspect In Desert

182px-Patch_of_the_San_Bernardino_County_Sheriff-Coroner's_DepartmentScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.59.57 AMThere is another disturbing videotape of a beating by police in California. This incident involves a bizarre chase of a suspect on horseback in San Bernardino county. The aerial footage shows the suspect on the ground after being stunned by a taser. Despite no evidence of resistance, the sheriff’s deputies proceed to punch and kick Francis Jared Pusok, 30. Pusok was suspected of stealing the horse. Three deputies were injured during the search — two from dehydration and a third was injured when kicked by the horse.

The encounter was the culmination of a bizarre series of events that started when deputies went to a home to serve a search warrant in an identity theft investigation. Pusok took off in a vehicle and deputies pursued him. Pusok then allegedly abandoned the vehicle and took off running. He lalter allegedly stole a horse and rode it on dirt trails. From the video, he does not appear a particularly skilled horseman.

The video below appears to show an unjustified and savage beating by the officers. There is obviously a possibility of not only termination but possible criminal charges against the officers. The police have launched an investigation.

pusokPusok has convictions for resisting arrest, animal cruelty, disturbing the peace, attempted robbery and failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility. However, that record does nothing to excuse this beating. While the department has claimed that the taser device was “ineffective due to his loose clothing,” it seems quite effective in the video. It would be interesting to see if the officers made this claim in their reports because the video shows Pusok on the ground and not moving. It then shows the other deputy quickly begins kicking him in the head and the deputy with the Taser is seen kicking Pusok in the groin area. Five more deputies arrive and join in on the attack. They then let him lay there for approximately 45 minutes, without receiving medical attention.

I cannot see a viable defense for these officers from this videotape and the analogies to the Rodney King beating are understandable. This case has the makings of a massive civil lawsuit as well as possible criminal charges against the officers. Pusok has an attorney.

135 thoughts on “San Bernardino Sheriff Deputies Under Investigation After Release Of Police Beating Suspect In Desert”

  1. The Nasty Blowback from America’s Wars
    April 12, 2015

    Exclusive: There are historical warnings to countries that inflict violence abroad, that the imperial impulse will blow back on the domestic society with suppression of public debate and repression of common citizens, that the war will come home — as is happening in the United States, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    By Ray McGovern

    Brutality thrives in American police treatment of common citizens reflecting an ethos of violence that has flourished over the past dozen years with almost no one in authority held accountable. Much of this behavior can be traced back to U.S. wars of choice – and it is not as though we were not warned of the inevitable blowback.


    “Charles “Sid” Heal, retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s commander

    Heal, who has testified in dozens of force trials, said that when the man “fell off the horse and lay flat, he is done …. I think I am pretty conservative, given I have been in so many situations that have been misread, but I cannot see any explanation for their conduct here.”

    As to the tactics, he said, the deputies exhibit almost none.

    “It was like a feeding frenzy. It was like blood in the water with sharks,” Heal said. “The only thing is they thought they could get away with it.”

    Adrenaline could be an explanation for the first unnecessary blows, he said.

    “But it went on way too long and involved deputies who weren’t there in the initial stage; they took what we call cheap shots,” he said. “They thought they could get away with it.”

    Heal said cameras capture everything today, and these deputies seemed to have forgotten that.

    Public outrage over the video is shared by other law enforcement officers who believe such actions smear the badge, he said.

    “Everybody I know is outraged,” he said. “This sets law enforcement back 20 years. All the things we have been saying basically get thrown out the window.””

    Just one sampling. Others weigh in, as well.

  3. Bailers said…

    We’re hiring combat veterans (almost a prerequisite now that you’re ex military) who are way too far down the reboot hole of following orders to be expected to think clearly and independently. That’s what we needed soldiers to be.

    I am hesitant to address this concept of what the military teaches once again, because I have done it several times before. Asking respectfully,would you please tell us what basis you have for your theory?

    Please don’t disappoint me by citing the movie “Platoon” or the “Winter Soldier” testimony….both fictional & imaginary compositions. It isn’t that it can’t happen, but that it is rare and are not trained reactions needing “re-booting.”

  4. Paul,
    Of course running from the police is a bad idea. Like Chris Rock said, if the police have to come get you, they’re bringing an $$$ kicking with them.

    But nothing excuses these rage bound cops that we have today. We’re hiring combat veterans (almost a prerequisite now that you’re ex military) who are way too far down the reboot hole of following orders to be expected to think clearly and independently. That’s what we needed soldiers to be. But not policemen.

    In J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, he hired educated people that he could teach to shoot. Now police are hiring people that can shoot, and maybe they’re educated maybe not. The police academy training of 100:1 hours leaning how to use force instead of negotiating skills certainly doesn’t help.

  5. Nobody should condone excessive force, however the Mother holding a picture of this convict is sickening. How about holding a picture of the puppy whose head he blew off in front on his kids. What about the couple he pulled a gun on at Target in the past. Bottom line he is a menace to society and his lawyer is trying to make him look like Rosa Parks. Give me break. Half the bruises and cuts he received were probably received when he fell from THE STOLEN HORSE! Here is a novel idea, when the police ask you to stop, stop and don’t run.

  6. Anon: Good article from Wash Post. These statistics seem to support a proposition that rules and laws are bent in favor of police than to others. Yes or no? It appears that legislators and both lawyers and judges are somewhat timid and reserved when it comes to officer conduct issues.

    Like K Street and industry influence peddlers, one should follow the money to candidates and campaigns. Do those paymaster interests serve the public interest? Citizens (and especially the younger generation) need to get involved and demand that the bar be raised. Our law enforcement agencies and those who support them should demand that the bar be raised to attract the best of the best.

    Industry is continually raising the bar to keep pace with talent requirements and change through increased training and credentials, forced ranking, etc. Academic administrators are buying out contracts of tenured professors to reduce payroll burdens and create win-wins. What is holding back law enforcement agencies and why so slow?

    1. FogDogSF – if you carefully read the article from the WaPo the problem is juries and grand juries. They find it hard to convict a policeman of wrong doing. When those policeman shot the unarmed man on the stoop in New York, I thought for sure they were going to do jail time. However, they convinced the jury that one of them said ‘Gun’ and the rest of them ventilated him. He was reaching for his wallet. Still, a couple of the cops were crying on the stand in their own defense, they were so torn up about the whole thing.

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