APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) --San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon has ordered an internal investigation after several deputies were caught on video repeatedly kicking and punching a suspect at the end of a horseback pursuit Thursday.
The "disturbing" footage was captured by KNBC-TV and appeared to show the suspect on the ground with his hands held behind his back.
"This is as bad, if not worse, than what they did to Rodney King. This was terrible. They kept going and going and going," family attorney Jim Terrell said.
The pursuit began at about 12:12 p.m. when deputies from the Victor Valley Station attempted to serve a search warrant in the 25300 block of Zuni Road in the unincorporated area of Apple Valley in connection to an identity theft investigation.
The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Francis Jared Pusok, fled the location in a vehicle and led officers on a chase through Apple Valley and Hesperia.
Pusok allegedly abandoned the vehicle near Bowen Ranch and fled on foot. He later stole a person's horse near the Deep Creek Hot Springs and fled on horseback.
A team of deputies approached Pusok at around 3 p.m. near Highway 173 and Arrowhead Lake Road. The horse threw the suspect off and a Taser was then deployed but it "was ineffective due to the suspect's loose clothing," the sheriff's department said in a statement. A use of force then occurred, officials said.
"The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately," McMahon said.
Pusok was transported to a local hospital with unknown injuries. Two deputies were treated for dehydration and a third deputy was injured when he was kicked by the horse.
Pusok's girlfriend Jolene Bindner doesn't understand the use of force after her boyfriend of 13 years put his hands behind his back. They have three daughters and a son on the way.
"They beat the crap out of him, and now they're trying to do everything that they can to avoid them being in any trouble," Bindner said.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information was urged to contact Sgt. James Evans at (760) 552-6800.