3 San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputies Charged With Assault In Horseback Chase Beating

BY: Phil Shuman

This was not a good day for law enforcement, in particular in San Bernardino County, where three on duty Sheriff's Deputies have been criminally charged with assault under the color of authority for what happened at the end of that bizarre horseback chase in April.

If you follow the news you no doubt remember the helicopter footage of ten deputies trying to take a suspect named Francis Pusock, who took off on horseback into the hills after a car chase. When it ended, he certainly was hit and kicked And kneed repeatedly, even as he was down on his face with his hands behind his back.

Was it excessive force? Today, the D.A. said yes, saying those three crossed the line. The 7 others, who apparently came on the scene a few moments later, were not charged, the reason given was they were under the impression that the suspect was being combative, at least that's the simple explanation

The Sheriff and the D.A., at a packed news conference, were both quick to say that they promised that if any deputy did something illegal or wrong that day they 'd be held accountable, and today was that day. Sheriff John McMahon said his Department goes to great lengths to prevent these kinds of things from happening, but wouldn't go into why he thinks this went badly.

The Deputies aren't talking, their Union rep, himself a Deputy, said he didn't want to "Monday morning quarterback, but sometimes you do... I don't want to say get carried away but sometimes you go farther than you should."

As is the case these days in reporting on law enforcement, there were repeated references, and justifiably so, to the fine work that 99.9 % of officers on the job do, in dangerous times, and the hope expressed by the D.A. and the Sheriff is that these charges don't tarnish everyone's badge.

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