Question: How many officers does it take to give a sufficient beatdown to a man who has been tased and is lying face down on the ground, motionless?
Answer: At least five, with six others observing.
A criminal investigation has been launched after video of several sheriff’s deputies beating a man emerged.
Francis Jared Pusok was fleeing police on horseback in San Bernardino County Thursday afternoon when the horrific beatdown occurred.
From NY Daily News:
The video, filmed by a TV news crew in a helicopter, showed two deputies apprehending Pusok after he fell from the horse in rugged hills some 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The two deputies Tasered him at least once, authorities said, and at one point he threw up his arms, seemingly in an attempt to surrender. But the two deputies began to kick and punch him, landing shots to his head and groin. The beating continued for more than a minute, and several other law enforcement officers joined in, in some cases even pushing others away so they could get a lick in on the defenseless suspect.
The video footage was caught by NBC Los Angeles’ NewsChopper4.
Warning: disturbing content
The group of deputies surrounding Pusok grew to 11.
From NBC Los Angeles:
In the two minutes after the man was stunned with a Taser, it appeared deputies kicked him 17 times, punched him 37 times and struck him with batons four times. Thirteen blows appeared to be to the head. The horse stood idly nearby.
The man did not appear to move from his position lying on the ground for more than 45 minutes. He did not appear to receive medical attention while deputies stood around him during that time.
“Authorities” have not told Pusok’s family members where he is or what his condition is. They only say he has been “hospitalized with unknown injuries.”
Pusok’s mother Anne Clemenson shared her thoughts about the conduct of the deputies:
“To me, it was like a joyride for the cops to do this to him. (It was) brutality. He didn’t deserve something like that,” Clemenson said, “To Tase him, the beatings that I see them doing to him — it’s uncalled for. You see him laying down, and they continue to kick him, hitting him and punching him. Why?”
Pusok’s girlfriend, Jolene Bindner, said she hasn’t been able to get answers from the Sheriff’s Department about Pusok’s condition, let alone what hospital he’s at either:
“They have not told me a thing,” she said. “How can you be tased and still feel it’s necessary to beat him like that? I don’t understand.”
Does that sound familiar? It should: back in February, we reported on the police shooting of Kevin Davis, whose family also was not allowed to see him while he was in the hospital:
A second officer arrived on the scene. Davis, prone, said he was unable to feel his legs. He was arrested, charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, and transferred to Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta in police custody.
Over the next two days, during his stay at the hospital, Davis’s family made numerous attempts to speak with him, both in person and over the phone, but they were denied by police, who said he was “in police custody.” Davis was not allowed to have outside contact, which reportedly evoked frustration on behalf of attending doctors.
On December 31, Davis died from his injuries sustained at the hands of Officer Pitts.
“It’s heartbreaking to us,” said his sister, Delisa Davis, “that he had to die alone, that he died with the identity of a criminal. He was 44, and had never been convicted of any crime.”
In a statement, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said, “The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing, and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately. In addition, members of the Specialized Investigations Detail are responding to conduct the criminal investigation.”
“What I saw on the television was thugs beating up my client. That’s what I saw. And these questions about what was he doing? What did they do? This is far worse than Rodney King,” said Pusok’s family attorney Jim Terrell, who is calling for the firing and arrests of the deputies seen in the footage.
You are probably wondering why the police were chasing Pusok to begin with, but is that relevant?
There’s a tactic police departments and their mainstream media comrades use when reporting on these kinds of incidents: focusing on the victim’s alleged crimes or criminal history.
They attempt to smear police abuse victims in an effort to justify brutality and officer-related killings.
Are police officers supposed to act as judge, jury, and executioner, or are they supposed to apprehend suspects and let the legal system handle the rest?
What happened to due process?
How many of Pusok’s Constitutional rights were violated during his vicious beating?
A statute known as Section 1983 is the primary civil rights law victims of police misconduct rely upon. This law was originally passed as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which was intended to curb oppressive conduct by government and private individuals participating in vigilante groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan. It is now called Section 1983 because that is where the law has been published, within Title 42, of the United States Code. Section 1983 makes it unlawful for anyone acting under the authority of state law to deprive another person of his or her rights under the Constitution or federal law. The most common claims brought against police officers are false arrest (or false imprisonment), malicious prosecution, and use of excessive or unreasonable force.
Excessive force claims receive the most publicity, perhaps because the results of excessive force seem the most outrageous, involving serious physical injury or death. Whether the officer’s use of force was reasonable depends on the surrounding facts and circumstances. The officer’s intentions or motivations are not controlling. If the amount of force was reasonable, it doesn’t matter that the officer’s intentions were bad. But the reverse is also true: if the officer had good intentions, but used unreasonable force, the excessive force claim will not be dismissed.
Failure to Intervene
Officers have a duty to protect individuals from constitutional violations by fellow officers. Therefore, an officer who witnesses a fellow officer violating an individual’s constitutional rights may be liable to the victim for failing to intervene. (source)
Beware of mainstream media reports on this story and others like it. Their bias isn’t always obvious and often comes in subsequent reports on a police misconduct story. No matter what Pusok did to lead officers to chase him, he didn’t deserve to have his Constitutional rights violated in such a brutal manner.
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