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By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer

Posted: Feb. 9, 2016 at 11:26 AM
Updated: Feb 9, 2016 at 4:44 PM

SAN BERNARDINO — Seven deputies placed on paid administrative leave but not charged for their role in the April 9 arrest and beating of Francis Pusok returned to work late last week, a Sheriff’s Department official said Tuesday.

The deputies were cleared to resume duty last Thursday even as the internal probe into the actions of 10 deputies that day remains ongoing, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller told the Daily Press.

Meanwhile, the evidence against three deputies formally charged with assaulting Pusok, 30, is expected to be laid out in court on Feb. 22.

In court Monday, attorneys for both sides said they were ready for the preliminary hearing, court records show, meaning that in less than two weeks it could be determined whether Michael Phelps, 30, Nick Downey, 33, and Charles Foster, 34, will stand trial for felony assault.

The deputies were charged Sept. 1 following a nearly five-month investigation by the District Attorney’s office. They have pleaded not guilty and face 16 months to three years in jail if convicted.

On April 9, Pusok was arrested in an unincorporated area south of Apple Valley and Hesperia after he evaded authorities for three hours, mostly while on horseback. An NBC4 news helicopter captured video of Pusok getting off the horse and subsequently being pummeled.

Downey can be seen kicking Pusok, 31, in the head area while he is prone with his hands behind his back and Phelps is shown kicking Pusok in the groin area, District Attorney Mike Ramos said at a September news conference.

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