San Bernardino County will pay $650,000 to a man who was beaten by Sheriff’s Department deputies in an incident caught on video by a television news helicopter’s camera.
The settlement was announced by the county Tuesday after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved it in a closed session vote.
Under the agreement with Francis Jared Pusok, who videotaped getting beaten by deputies April 9 near Deep Creek Hot Springs, the county acknowledges no wrongdoing.
“The sole purpose of this agreement for both parties is to avoid the costs involved in litigation,” board Chairman James Ramos said in a statement. “This agreement is a fair outcome for everyone involved, including the taxpayers.”
The incident began when a search warrant related to an identity theft investigation was served at a home on Zuni Road in an unincorporated area near Apple Valley, the Sheriff’s Department said shortly after the incident. Pusok, 30, allegedly fled in a vehicle, then on foot, then stole a horse from a group of people near Deep Creek Hot Springs.
As he continued into rugged terrain on horseback, a group of deputies was lowered into the area to detain him. Pusok was thrown off the horse and deputies approached, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Deputies tried to use a Taser, and then two of them were seen kicking, kneeing and punching the man as he lay on the ground. Other deputies who arrived appeared to join in the fray, video recorded by KNBC showed.
Sheriff John McMahon called the video “disturbing” and ordered an internal investigation. The FBI also said it was investigating to determine if federal civil rights violations occurred.
Ten deputies were placed on paid leave in connection with the incident, McMahon said.
Pusok was hospitalized. He was arrested on suspicion of felony evasion of a peace officer, felony theft of a horse, possession of stolen property, and reckless driving, county inmate records showed.
He bailed out on April 12. It was not clear if he had been charged.
Pusok had been arrested more than six times in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reported.