A California county has decided to settle with a man who was beaten after trying to evade police on a horse. The violent arrest will cost the county over half a million dollars.
Earlier this month, deputies in San Bernardino County tried to serve a warrant on Francis Pusok related to an identity theft investigation. But Pusok fled the police, first leading them on a car chase. He ditched the car and fled on foot. Then, according to the sherrif’s office, he stole a horse and rode off on rugged and steep dirt trails.
The episode caused “numerous injuries to the horse,” according to authorities.
Pusok was injured as well. He was thrown from the horse, after which deputies struck him with a Taser, but officials said that didn’t work because of Pusok’s loose clothing.
What happened next was troubling to many, including San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon. A video shot from a KNBC helicopter hovering above the arrest captured the scene. KNBC reported that Pusok appeared to be kicked 17 times, punched dozens of times and hit by a baton as well. McMahon called the incident disturbing and promised an internal investigation.
Less than two weeks later the county’s Board of Supervisors agreed to pay $650,000 to settle any claims dealing with Pusok’s arrest.
“The sole purpose of this agreement is to avoid the costs involved in litigation,” said James Ramos, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
The agreement does not acknowledge any wrongdoing.
“The agreement is a fair outcome for everyone involved,” Ramos said, “including the taxpayers.”
An investigation into the officers’ use of force continues.