Francis Pusok

Francis Jared Pusok of Apple Valley points to marks from where he says Taser barbs fired at him by sheriff’s deputies were ripped from his scalp. Pusok, who was interviewed Friday in the Victorville offices of his attorney, Jim Terrell, led deputies on a three-hour pursuit on April 9 after deputies attempted to serve a search warrant in the High Desert. (Sarah Alvarado — Staff Photographer)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 04/17/15, 7:56 PM PDT |

VICTORVILLE >> Last week wasn’t the first time Francis Pusok encountered San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, and it wasn’t the first time he was beaten by law enforcement officers, he said in a Friday afternoon interview.

In fact, it was his fear of authorities based on previous encounters that prompted him to flee from deputies April 9, leading them on a three-hour pursuit, at the end of which deputies punched and kicked him repeatedly as a news helicopter hovered overhead.

“I already have a history of being beaten,” Pusok said Friday during an interview at the office of his attorneys, Jim Terrell and Sharon Brunner. “I believe the length of my pursuit saved my life because it was caught on camera.”

Pusok, a convicted felon with misdemeanor and felony convictions including resisting arrest, animal cruelty and attempted robbery, is planning to file a federal lawsuit against the 10 deputies involved in his April 9 arrest and beating, which was caught on video by an NBC news crew in a helicopter.

His left eye blackened from what he said was a kick to the face by a deputy, Pusok said he believes deputies would have done much worse had the chase not gone on as long as it did, giving NBC time to fly in and shoot video of the pursuit and beating as they unfolded.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman declined to comment Friday on Pusok’s allegations.

“Due to the ongoing investigation, the department won’t be responding to any allegations made by Pusok, his attorney or his family,” Bachman said.

The 10 deputies involved in last week’s incident have been placed on paid leave pending administrative and criminal investigations by the Sheriff’s Department and FBI. Bachman said more should be known next week.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, deputies were serving a search warrant in an identity theft investigation at a home in the 25300 block of Zuni Road in Apple Valley shortly after noon April 9. Pusok fled deputies in a vehicle, then ditched the vehicle southwest of Bowen Ranch and fled on foot. He allegedly stole a horse from the Deep Creek Hot Springs area and tried to elude his pursuers on dirt trails and across rugged, steep terrain, causing numerous injuries to the horse. Two deputies suffered dehydration and a third was injured after being kicked by the stolen horse, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Pusok said his fear of police stems from incidents in 2013 and 2011 involving sheriff’s deputies and San Bernardino police officers.

In November 2013, deputies went to Pusok’s Apple Valley home on a shots fired call.

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