From: The Press Enterprise
By Brian Rokos 10/21/15
Updates with comment from deputy’s attorney, background
Francis Jared Pusok, the 31-year-old horse-theft suspect whose televised beating in April led to excessive-force charges against three San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 21, after the Sheriff’s Department said Pusok punched a man in the nose.
On Tuesday, the owner of a residence in the 11000 block of Caribou Avenue in Apple Valley told deputies that he was changing the locks after evicting squatters who he identified as Pusok’s family members when Pusok showed up to retrieve property.
When the man told Pusok that he was not allowed to be there, Pusok, without provocation, slugged the man in the nose, causing it to bleed, a news release said. The man also injured his back and neck when he fell.
The victim identified Pusok from a photo lineup, and a warrant for his arrest was obtained, the release said.
On Wednesday, deputies arrested Pusok in the 21100 block of Del Oro Road in Apple Valley, where he had been living with his girlfriend and her mother.
Pusok was arrested without incident, the release said, and was booked on suspicion of assault with injuries into the High Desert Detention Center, where he was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Before the April encounter with deputies, Pusok had convictions for resisting arrest, attempted robbery, animal cruelty and fighting and causing a public disturbance.
In connection with his April arrest, Pusok was charged with felony evading, misdemeanor resisting arrest, felony vandalism for damaging a chain-link fence and fence posts, felony grand theft of livestock, felony cruelty to an animal, misdemeanor being under the influence and felony possession of ammunition. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
A news helicopter crew videotaped deputies’ April 9 pursuit of Pusok, which ended with Pusok falling off a horse that had been reported stolen. Ten deputies converged on Pusok, some of them hitting and kicking Pusok as he lay prone on the ground with his hands behind his back.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, at a news conference the next day, said the use of force “appears to be excessive.” Ten deputies were placed on paid administrative leave.
On April 21, Pusok and San Bernardino County agreed to a $650,000 settlement that included a clause that said the county did not admit any wrongdoing. The speed at which the deal was reached stunned legal experts.
Then on Sept. 1, deputies Nick Downey, Michael Phelps and Charles Foster were charged with felony assault by a public officer after San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos decided that their actions “crossed the line.” All pleaded not guilty.
Wednesday, Downey’s attorney, Michael D. Schwartz of Ontario-based Rains Lucia Stern, said Pusok’s arrest showed the “caliber of the person my client and the other deputies were dealing with April 9 up on that mountain.”
“It is someone who refuses to respect authority,” he said, “doesn’t respect other people’s possessions and authority, and I think it should really initiate some public debate about the people my client and other law enforcement have to deal with, rather than simply their actions.”
Schwartz criticized the “electronic lynch mob media” that he said has been attacking law enforcement officers across the country and described Pusok as a “violent, belligerent and dangerous individual.”
The Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on the arrest beyond its news release.
Pusok’s attorney, Victorville-based James Terrell, could not immediately be reached for comment.