A California sheriff has placed 10 deputies on paid administrative leave after a news crew recorded the violent arrest of a suspect who made a getaway bid on horseback.
In the latest apparent example of police brutality to make national headlines, footage showed several deputies repeatedly punching and kicking the suspect, who appeared to have surrendered.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon has ordered an investigation into the “disturbing” footage, which was captured by a Xulnews helicopter.
Francis Pusok initially fled by car when officers served a search warrant in an identity-theft investigation in the town of Apple Valley, east of Los Angeles, on Thursday.
Police pursued the 30-year-old for nearly three hours into hilly desert, where he dumped the car and stole a horse from a group of people.
The aerial footage shows Pusok galloping on horseback until he falls from the saddle, before lying face down on the ground with his arms out in front of him.
A group of deputies are seen pouncing on the suspect, taking turns to punch and stamp on him in an attack that goes on for at least two minutes.
“I am disturbed and troubled by what I see,” said Sheriff McMahon. “It does not appear to be in line with our policies and procedures.”
Deputies used a Taser on Pusok but it “was ineffective due to his loose clothing”, according to the sheriff’s department.
Two deputies ended up being treated for dehydration suffered during the pursuit, and a third was injured when kicked by the horse, according to the authorities.
The statement said Pusok was taken to hospital with unknown injuries.