The alleged horse thief whose beating by multiple San Bernardino sheriff's deputies was captured on video says it all happened while he was handcuffed and unable to protect himself. Francis Pusok, who was shown on the video being punched and kicked dozens of times after deputies captured him at the end of a long pursuit, tells NBC News he was Tasered three times—twice after he was cuffed—and toward the end of the pummeling, a deputy whispered in his ear, "This isn't over." Pusok was released on bail Sunday night, and authorities are still deciding whether to file charges of evading a peace officer, horse theft, and receiving stolen property, reports the Victorville Daily Press.
Pusok—whose long criminal record includes prison time for fighting, attempted robbery, obstructing an officer, and animal cruelty, according to the Daily Press—tells NBC that he took off when police arrived at a home on an unrelated matter "because any contact with the police has been negative for me." The county has suspended 10 deputies over the incident, which is being investigated by the FBI and the sheriff's office. An ACLU lawyer tells the San Bernardino Sun it's about time federal investigators looked into county policing practices. "This is larger than just a use-of-force incident," she says. "It's indicative of something that seems to be institutionalized within the department itself."