Suspect in horse chase due in court June 16.

By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer
Posted Apr. 13, 2015 at 9:06 AM
Updated Apr 13, 2015 at 6:57 PM

APPLE VALLEY — Outside the home where Francis Pusok is staying, a carry-out pizza was left on what appeared to be a tool rack or scaffolding on the porch.

There was a friendly note attached to the pizza box, signed by someone from the TV show Inside Edition, requesting contact with Pusok. Not long after, a Fox 11 news van pulled up to the property, but reporters found that Pusok wasn’t home.

A neighbor who requested anonymity told the Daily Press that more reporters had been there earlier, seeking an interview with a man who has inadvertently become the latest face of a resurgent national debate on police brutality.

Since Pusok, 30, was released on bail at around 7 p.m. Sunday, he’s been sought by the media. In interviews Monday with NBC4 Los Angeles and NBC News, he said he thought he was being beaten to death by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies on Thursday and that he was handcuffed through “99 percent” of the beating.

Pusok had led authorities on a three-hour pursuit, most of it on horseback, before he was caught in a remote unincorporated area south of Apple Valley and Hesperia.

Arrested on suspicion of evading a peace officer, horse theft and receiving stolen property, Pusok’s alleged offenses have since been overshadowed by the dramatic video of his capture.

An NBC4 news helicopter video showed deputies kicking Pusok in the head and groin and punching him dozens of times while he was on the ground. At a news conference Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon revealed the department had launched an internal investigation and 10 officials involved — a detective, a sergeant and eight other deputies — were placed on paid administrative leave.

Calling the video “disturbing,” McMahon also confirmed that the FBI had launched a civil rights investigation into the matter.

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