California county settles after deputies beat man on video

April 24, 2015
Francis Pusok

Francis Pusok

San Bernardino County has agreed to pay $650,000 to a man whom sheriff’s deputies delivered a bruising after he led them on a wild chase by car, foot and horseback. [LA Times]

As the chase ended, a news helicopter filmed deputies kicking and punching Francis Pusok, 30. Pusok had already surrendered and was lying with hands behind his back.

The county board of supervisors approved the settlement on Tuesday. Pusok’s attorneys then released a statement saying the county initiated settlement negotiations based on the video.

Ten deputies are on paid leave as a result of the incident. The FBI is also conducting a civil rights investigation.

The hours-long chase began after deputies served a warrant at a home in unincorporated Apple Valley. Pusok was in the home at the time, though he did not live there.

Pusok first fled in a car and then by foot before allegedly stealing a horse. The video shows the horse throwing him as deputies arrived.

Sheriff John McMahon said he believes Pusok fled because he was on probation at the time. Pusok said he fled because prior encounters with police and deputies caused him to develop fear of law enforcement.

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The cops have to learn to be more careful any time they decide to open a can of whoop ass.

Run from cops, get a beating. That is how it’s always been, probably how it always will be.

Does it make it right? That changes as the Overton Window goes, but it seems it is a constant. Thin line between cop and criminal. Who else takes pleasure hitting people over the head? A cop and a criminal.

Did the criminal get off scott free? What about the people he fleeced?

You are right, the money should go to a find to pay his victims and taxpayers when he’s incarcerated in the future. And the payment should come from deputies pension funds.

Well, hey, I don’t know, I watched the video and it kinda looked like the sheriff’s deputies were

sorta just brushing the dust off the horse thief.

After all, we’re in the middle of a bad drought you know, and it’s pretty dry and dusty out there

in dem der hills.

Great comment vagabond. Spot on.

While I don’t condone what the SO’s did, it is also amazing to me that career criminals can get a big fat paycheck in this day and age because of the technology employed.

Remember Rodney King? We didn’t see the entire video from the very start to where it was queued up for the national media. Although he reaped 3.8 million dollars from that video, it didn’t change his heart nor his criminal mind.

How in the world in this day and age would any LEO not know that they are being filmed?

Not sure, maybe ego, steroid use or they just feel their brothers in blue will support them no matter what.

Hey, Parkinson snuffs detainees at three times the going normal rate, and you don’t see HIM changing anything. As to situational (film) awareness, those SBDO deputies were caught up in the heat of difficult, draining pursuit of a dirtbag, and I guess it briefly got the better of their judgment. If somebody steals my sister’s sweet old Polish Arabian, that copter video will look like a tea party in comparison.

P.S. – hate to see a creep paid like Pusok, but that county acted fast and proactively and probably got the taxpayers off cheaply given the clear video. Good job of risk management/settlement by that county.

“but that county acted fast and proactively and probably got the taxpayers off cheaply given the clear video”

Police caused a huge settlement to the “creep” . Explain to me how beating a person in custody is a good idea for the taxpayers please.

OK, Vagabond, where did I say beating in custody was a good idea?

I come from a management mindset where you deal with whatever crazy stuff your subordinates did in the field. Deal with it, make it right, settle it out. My post came from that standpoint; they used bad judgment in heat of pursuit, so now you have a liability issue to deal with. Resisting a settlement just raises the figure, the grief, and the legal bills, in many cases, most likely to include this one.

I did not mean you to think I said “beating” was a good idea. I said in my post that rapidly settling with the recipient of the beating, in the face of clear video evidence, was a good idea. Sorry if I was unclear.