Horseman beaten by California county lawmen to be paid $650,000

By Dan Whitcomb

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Officials in a Southern California county said on Tuesday they would pay $650,000 to a man whose beating by sheriff's deputies following a failed getaway by horseback was caught on videotape, prompting an FBI investigation.

A spokesman for San Bernardino County said in a written statement that the settlement with Francis Jared Pusok, 30, "acknowledges no wrongdoing" and settled all potential legal claims stemming from the April 9 incident.

"The sole purpose of this agreement for both parties is to avoid the costs involved in litigation," James Ramos, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said in the statement. "This agreement is a fair outcome for everyone involved, including the taxpayers."

The footage of Pusok's beating and arrest surfaced on April 9, just two days after a video emerged of a South Carolina policeman fatally shooting a man as he ran away after being stopped for a broken tail light.

Ten officers involved in the beating were placed on paid administrative leave pending investigations by the sheriff's department and FBI.

Pusok initially drove off in a car when officers arrived at a residence to serve a search warrant as part of an identity-theft investigation, McMahon told reporters.

He ditched the car, ran a short distance on foot and stole a horse before deputies in off-road vehicles and helicopters closed in on him in rugged, hilly terrain near the town of Apple Valley.

The video shows Pusok riding the horse, falling off, scrambling to his feet, then throwing himself to the ground with his arms outstretched as two deputies run up with Tasers drawn.

The two deputies are seen pouncing on Pusok, taking turns repeatedly punching and stomping on him while several more officers join in, delivering repeated blows and kicks in a beating that goes on for at least two minutes.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)