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. Aridog – that was an awesome horse in the video, and he gets no credit at all. Helicopter hovering just above the round. Check. Green rider. Check. Brutal beating right next to him. Check. No one holding the reins. Check.

    So . . . I’ll just ground tie until you guys are all done, ‘kay?

  2. Aridog – so true. It wasn’t natural horsemanship at all. I could almost hear my mare thinking, “Why should I keep doing this when it doesn’t get me anywhere?” She didn’t even reward her best efforts, so my mare went from bored to pissed before I could jump off the fence and intervene.

    Everyone bills themselves a “natural horsemanship” trainer these days, but few really understand the concept. I love the training books by the Dorrance brothers. Real horsemen and old time cowboys. They influenced most of the big name trainers today.

  3. Aridog

    I’m sure we share a lot of viewpoints regardless of how apart we are on other stuff. That said, I also ‘feel’ that the guy should be ‘roughed’ up, for the horse, for all of his twisted behavior. But I prefer a society where he gets tossed in jail for a substantial period.

    When I was growing up, in my teens, there were fights. Typically someone or ones came into the turf of others looking for a fight. Call it testosterone, or whatever. The result was: stitches, broken teeth, broken collar bones, busted noses, etc. The participants were teenagers, screwed up without proper parental guidance, and runaway metabolisms of some sort or the other. If one wanted to get into it, one could participate. If not, no one was forced.

    However, society picks some to represent the best of the best, the most rational, to protect and serve, to be police. As much as the kids I spent time with were up for a fight, no one ever joined in while another was getting a licking. We squared off one to one and if someone was down, he was left down. If he got up he was back in the mix. This sort of behavior is frowned upon and only lasted, for me, a year or so. It represented pent up feelings, frustrations, and all the stuff one expects an adult, especially a cop to control.

    In the video I saw stuff that in our worst fights, fights that sent kids to the hospital, we would never do. These cops were way beyond anything that out of control youth would do. They are not the best of the best but the worst of the worst. They resemble more a pack of wild dogs than people chosen to protect and serve. Yet they are suspended with pay for now.

  4. As for those deputies…how did they miss the helicopter above them? Maybe I’m just forever intrigued about helicopters, from past experiences, but even now when I hear one near our house I go outside and check it out…especially if is an old UH-1 type with that distinctive whup-whup-whup sound. Usually it’s a police Bell 206 Jet Ranger aircraft running a floodlight chasing some miscreant…but I can’t resist being sure. If that floodlight passes through my yard I’m thinking the miscreant is rather closer than I want.

  5. Issac … that said, if the clown they beat up hurt the obviously well trained horse (perfect ground tying, even in the scuffle), I’d say let that owner of the horse have five minutes with his raggedy behind in a stall with a pick handle…blows only to ribs and back side however. At least one of the overly excited deputies finally noticed he needed to secure that lovely horse. The whole thing was just one hot mess…when will LEO’s learn that everything today is filmed one way or another?

    Is there a cure for stupid? Heck, these days even when I am in a remote part of a National Park I no longer think to take a whiz near a footpath…some fool will have it on camera sure as sunrise. I’m even careful now in remote back country the public seldom ventures in to…among other things some apex predator may be watching and notice your “distraction.”

    1. Aridog – the department has suspended 10 deputies over this. Not sure how many are in the film, but that seems like the right amount.

  6. Issac … Yay! I agree with you on your comment at 4:06 PM yesterday. 🙂

  7. Karen S…I forgot to mention that the lunge line trainer you mention was using compulsion, whether she represented herself as a “natural horsemanship” expert or not…she definitely was not. And ground work, or repetitive saddle work, that lasts over 15 minutes, before a relaxation period, is going to irritate even the mildest mannered horse. Same for big ole dogs when training them…no play and you get bit eventually…who knew?

  8. Karen S said …

    He thought she wasn’t responding to his leg fast enough and kicked her hard. She promptly reared up, flipped over, and broke both of his wrists.

    Good for her. Anyone I ever saw “kick a horse hard” was never allowed near any horse of ours, ever. I’d seen too many horses ruined by the compulsion idiots. “Natural horsemanship” has been around for over 50 years, and anyone like yourself who has ridden over fences, stadium or solid eventing type, knows it is the best method. You “ask” you do not “compel.” The compulsion folk make horses that balk, and anyone who has watched the steep downhill mound to a 4 rail fence at the Spruce Meadows Derby knows what that produces…great face plants. 🙂

  9. Fiver
    You know it’s not when they call me gay mafia…
    … Just refer to the authoritarians as authoritarian mafioso.

    Besides, the mafia angle is closer in relation to the true sense of the word mafia in regards to authoritarians. They like the tough approach of criminal syndicates. Whereas I just don’t see reports of gays beating up innocent civilians…

  10. All Federal LEO are subject to random drug testing, as are Federal court personnel, such as probation/parole.

  11. Aridog – sounds like you had a wonderful, discerning horse. I was lucky enough to learn how to ride at a hunter jumper barn that had a liberty drill team, so I learned how to do it as a kid, from hacking in a field to jumping. So much fun.

    My mare has the mind for it, but we sometimes disagree over who’s boss. She is very opinionated. A few weeks after I broke her to ride, I let someone else try her out to get feedback. I’d moved away from my old barn and didn’t know any local trainers well. He’d broken many horses. He thought she wasn’t responding to his leg fast enough and kicked her hard. She promptly reared up, flipped over, and broke both of his wrists. I tried another trainer who supposedly used “natural horsemanship,” who was recommended by a friend. She just worked her on the ground. What could go wrong, right? She kept making her repeat yielding and stepping under, which my mare thought was stupid because she had already done it perfectly a dozen times. So she became less responsive. The trainer popped her lead line hard a few times, and I had enough and ended the lesson. Since my poor girl was wearing a knotted rope halter, she was bleeding under the noseband. I didn’t see it until after the trainer left, and was furious. I’ve never injured a horse with a rope halter so she must have been quite savage with that lead rope. My mare has never liked strangers, so these were serious setbacks in her socialization. So I’ve never had anyone else work with her or ride her after that, aside from putting my little boy on her back, whom she adores, while she’s tied up at the rail.

    I’ve gotten her down to riding bareback with a halter and just need to make a wire for the next step.

  12. Sometimes there is a gray area: the cop was ‘all shook up’, the cop thought he was in danger, the cop lost his cool, etc. Take a look at the video again and notice that the first two cops that start beating on the guy are next to totally unjustified. The guy is down and incapacitated. But they kick him repeatedly in the head and the groin. Then more cops arrive and join in the beating, almost taking numbers. This goes on with so many cops wailing on the guy there is not enough room for them to lay in any really good licks. This must have really frustrated them because it not only goes on and on but they exchange places around the ‘kill’. These cops are not much different than a pack of hyenas after bring prey to the ground. It would be interesting to juxtapose two videos, this one and one from Africa.

    These guys, in this instance were nothing but a pack of wild animals, adrenalin and other lame a** reasoning aside, of course.

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