Sheriff’s officials in San Bernardino County are under investigation after they were caught by a news helicopter swarming and mauling an unarmed man after he was on the ground, KNBC-TV reported on Thursday.
The attack on 30-year-old Francis Jared Pusok came after Pusok was hit by a Taser and fell face-first. KNBC estimated that in a two-minute span, Pusok was punched 37 times, kicked 17 times and hit four times with a baton.
“I’m disturbed by what I see in the video,” Sheriff John McMahon said. “But I don’t need to jump to conclusions at this point, until we do a complete and thorough investigation. If our deputy sheriffs did something wrong, they’ll be put off work and they’ll be dealt with appropriately, all in accordance with the law as well as our department policy.”
The apparent beating came at the end of a chase that stretched across unincorporated Apple Valley and the nearby community of Hesperia. Authorities were attempting to serve Pusok with a warrant in an identity theft case when he fled his home and drove off. He later abandoned his vehicle and allegedly stole a horse, riding through rough terrain in a rural area, Bowen Ranch.
The footage shows the horse throwing Pusok off as two deputies catch up to him. The helicopter operator notes one deputy’s use of a Taser, putting Pusok back on the ground. The department said the device was “ineffective due to his loose clothing.”
However, as Pusok lies on the ground, the other deputy quickly begins kicking him in the head. The deputy with the Taser is then seen kicking Pusok in what appears to be the groin area. The suspect does not appear to be moving as the officers continue pummeling him. Five more deputies quickly arrive, with most of them joining in the attack, while another attends to the horse.
KNBC reported that Pusok lay on the ground for approximately 45 minutes, without receiving medical attention. He was later hospitalized. The nature of his injuries has not been revealed. Two of the deputies were treated for dehydration, while a third was allegedly kicked by the horse.
Watch the incident, as posted by KNBC, below.