APPLE VALLEY – Law enforcement is still investigating multiple threats against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies who took a suspect into custody by force last week.
Ten deputies were taken off duty, due to questions over the reported use of force on a chase, during which the suspect tried to flee by car and a stolen horse. Francis Jared Pusok, 30 of Apple Valley, was arrested last week when deputies arrived at his residence on the 25300 block of Zuni Road to serve a warrant in an identity theft investigation.
According to reports, Pusok fled the scene in a vehicle. Police pursued Pusok through unincorporated areas of Apple Valley, the city of Apple Valley, and further into unincorporated areas of Hesperia, where he eventually left his vehicle and fled on foot.
Pusok eventually made contact with a group of people near Deep Creek Hot Springs, stole a horse and fled on dirt trails through rugged and steep terrain, which caused numerous injuries to the horse.
He was being trailed by a Sheriff’s helicopter, which inserted a team of deputies in the area of Highway 173, near Arrowhead Lake Road, eventually leading to Pusok’s arrest after he fell off the horse.
A Taser was deployed, according to reports, but Pusok’s loose clothing helped negate its effect on him. Further physical force was used to make the arrest, said reports, leading to an internal investigation. Pusok was treated for injuries, including abrasions and bruising, and taken to West Valley Detention center and booked for felony evading, horse theft, possession of stolen property and an active warrant for reckless driving. Bail was set at $115,000.
Ten deputies, meanwhile, were placed on administrative leave. Two deputies were injured during the search, sustaining abrasions, a twisted knee, and a back injury from being struck by the horse. Both have been treated and released. There was video taken by local TV station KNBC, which shows several deputies continuing to beat the suspect after he was down, and had placed his hands behind his back.
County Sheriff John McMahon said, “The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately.” He also said, “In addition, members of the Specialized Investigation Detail are responding to conduct the criminal investigation.”
The department has reportedly received threatening emails, phone calls and social media posts which will be investigated upon validity. The deputies’ names will only be released if those threats are unsubstantiated, said authorities.