There 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.
Pusok 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.