California Police under Investigation for Bashing Suspect after Horse Chase
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Deputy sheriffs in southern California are under investigation after a TV news helicopter caught them on video kicking and beating a suspect who was fleeing on horseback.
Francis Jared Pusok, 30, a white male with a criminal record, was kicked 13 times, punched 37 times and struck four times with batons, according to KNBC television in Los Angeles.
"I'm disturbed by what I see in the video," San Bernardino County sheriff John McMahon told the station, whose chopper hovered over the scene.
He ordered an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred in desert scrub in Apple Valley, 130 kilometres from Los Angeles.
It came five days after a white police officer in the South Carolina city of North Charleston was caught on video gunning down a fleeing African American suspect, AFP reported.
The officer, Michael Slager, has since been charged with the murder of Walter Scott, 50, and fired from the force, in the latest fatal confrontation in the US between white police officers and unarmed black suspects.
Pusok was being served a warrant related to an identity theft investigation when he first fled on foot, then stole a horse, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said on Friday.
From the KNBC video, it appeared Pusok was zapped with a Taser when he fell off the horse, after which up to 11 deputies began striking him.
He remained on the ground for 45 minutes, getting no medical attention before he was taken to hospital, the television station reported.
The sheriff's department acknowledged that "use of force occurred" after the Taser proved ineffective due to "loose clothing" that Pusok was wearing.
Three deputies also got medical treatment - two for dehydration and a third who got kicked by the horse, which itself sustained "numerous injuries".