'Disturbing' Video Shows Deputies Pummeling Man

Internal investigation launched in San Bernardino, Calif.
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2015 7:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – The pursuit of a fleeing suspect ended with what a California sheriff calls a "disturbing" video of the man lying on the ground and seemingly being beaten by multiple San Bernardino sheriff's deputies, NBC Los Angeles reports. The video, taken from an NBC News helicopter, starts with the suspect in the frame on a horse before he topples off. A deputy appears to Taser him, and the incident seems over as the suspect lies on the ground with arms stretched out. Except instead of cuffing him and concluding the chase, two deputies appear to start punching and kneeing the suspect. The group of deputies eventually grows to 11; NBC Los Angeles counts a total of 17 kicks, 37 punches, and four swats with a baton; 13 strikes appear to be to the suspect's head.

"The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing," Sheriff John McMahon said in a statement last night, per the San Bernardino Sun. "I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately." Officers had gone to a local home earlier that day with a search warrant related to an ID theft case when the suspect, 30-year-old Francis Jared Pusok, took off in his car, cops say, per the Sun. After a chase that eventually led Pusok to ditch his vehicle, he fled on foot until he allegedly stole the horse. Authorities say Pusok is in the hospital with "unknown" injuries; his girlfriend tells NBC Los Angeles she's not only in the dark about how bad his injuries are, but she hasn't even been told what hospital he's at. The horse was also said to be injured by the "very rugged, steep" terrain it traversed. Pusok's lawyer doesn't mince words: "This is far worse than Rodney King," he tells CBS Los Angeles.

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