WATCH ABOVE: Authorities pursuing a man on a stolen horse in San Bernardino was seen being beaten by law enforcement as he was apprehended. (WARNING: Viewers discretion is advised)
TORONTO – Several San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies were recorded Thursday beating and kicking an alleged horse thief for roughly two minutes as he lay motionless on the ground in the southern California desert.
An NBC helicopter captured a bizarre pursuit between a man on horseback and police that ended with the man, identified as 30-year-old Francis Pusok, being Tasered before up to 11 deputies struck him after he was on the ground with his hands behind his back.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon described the video as “disturbing” and ordered an investigation into the incident.
“The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately,” McMahon said in a statement. “In addition, members of the Specialized Investigations Detail are responding to conduct the criminal investigation.”
The sheriff’s department said in a press release the chase began around 12:15 p.m. when deputies arrived at a home in Apple Valley to serve a search warrant in an identity theft investigation.
Pusok fled the home in a car which led to a pursuit. After Pusok abandoned his vehicle and ran on foot, deputies tried to search for him with helicopters and off-road vehicles.
Later Pusok stole a horse and fled into “very rugged, steep terrain,” before a team of deputies located him around 3 p.m. just off a highway, according to police
According to the sheriff’s department, deputies deployed a Taser on Pusok but it “was ineffective due to his loose clothing.”
The video shows Pusok being kicked more than a dozen times and punched repeatedly.
The sheriff’s department said three deputies were transported to the hospital, where two were being treated for dehydration and one suffered injuries after being kicked by a horse.
The incident comes just days after a video emerged showing a police officer in South Carolina shooting an unarmed Walter Scott in the back several times as he ran away. Officer Michael Salger has been charged with murder in the case and fired from the police force.
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