San Bernardino County Sheriff

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 08/03/15 – 8:52 PM PDT |

A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy potentially facing criminal charges in the videotaped beating of an Apple Valley man in April is at the center of another criminal case in Victorville in which the deputy’s use of force in other incidents is also in question.

Redlands defense attorney Peter Schlueter is requesting a new trial for 26-year-old Phelan resident Cody Williams, arrested by sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Downey on Oct. 23, 2011, and subsequently convicted at trial for resisting arrest, driving under the influence of alcohol, evading a peace officer and battery on a peace officer.

Schlueter’s request comes amid a reversal of Williams’ conviction in September by the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Riverside after the attorney learned information about a sheriff’s internal affairs investigation into alleged misconduct by Downey in 2009 was never divulged to him and Williams prior to trial.

“In the event Williams can demonstrate he has been prejudiced by the denial of the discovery, the trial court must order a new trial,” according to the appellate court decision.

During Williams’ arrest, Downey struck Williams twice in the head with his baton, causing a concussion, memory loss, and prompting Williams to have reconstructive surgery on the orbit of his left eye, Schlueter said.

Williams blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, Schlueter said, and Downey reported that he feared for his safety, that Williams was combative and punched him in the face, and that Williams tried to flee Downey on an ATV before ramming the all-terrain vehicle into Downey’s patrol car during the early morning pursuit in Phelan, according to Downey’s police report.

Williams denies the allegations, and Schlueter maintains Downey fabricated his story to cover up his assault on Williams, violating Williams’ due process rights.

Downey, who has been a sheriff’s deputy since 2008, is one of 10 sheriff’s deputies facing criminal charges in the April 9 beating of Francis Jared Pusok following a nearly three-hour pursuit in Apple Valley and Hesperia. Video shot by an NBC news crew in a helicopter caught Downey and other deputies beating and kicking Pusok as he was trying to surrender.

The Sheriff’s Department submitted its investigation to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of criminal charges on July 1, and the case is pending review.

District Attorney Mike Ramos said in a statement Monday that the publicity surrounding Pusok will not factor into his office’s review of the case, which will be guided solely by the facts presented.

“At this time, our office is committed to conducting a complete and thorough review of the volumes of materials within a reasonable time period to determine whether or not criminal charges will be filed,” Ramos said.

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