San Bernardino Deputy Convicted of Assault in Televised Beating of Man After Horseback Pursuit

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A San Bernardino County jury Thursday convicted a sheriff’s deputy of assault for his role in the televised beating of a man in the high desert after a horseback pursuit.

A man led police on a horse pursuit in an unincorporated area of Apple Valley on Thursday. (Credit: jgkix)

Jurors found Charles Foster guilty of assault under the color of authority by a public officer, a charge that carries up to three years in county jail, according to Chris Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office.

But Foster’s verdict — a rare vote of guilt for a sworn law enforcement officer — was only a partial victory for prosecutors: The jury deadlocked over two other sheriff’s deputies charged in the case.

For Michael Phelps and Nicholas Downey, jurors voted 8 to 4 in favor of guilt. Prosecutors have not made a final decision on whether to seek a retrial, but a hearing is scheduled for April 21, Lee said.

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