SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. » A Southern California man punched and kicked by sheriff’s deputies after a chase involving a stolen horse said Monday that he feared for his life during the violent arrest that was recorded by a TV news helicopter.
"I thought I was being beaten to death," Francis Pusok, 30, told KNBC-TV. "I was wondering, ‘When is it going to stop?’"
Pusok, still showing a black eye and other marks from the beating, sat with his girlfriend for the interview the day after he was released from a San Bernardino County jail.
He said he was still feeling the effects four days later.
"The beating might’ve stopped but the pain never stopped," Pusok said. "I can still feel the pain."
Pusok’s arrest has led to an FBI civil rights investigation and 10 deputies being placed on leave pending an internal investigation.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said last week that the video "disturbed and troubled" him and appeared to show an excessive use of force.
Pusok fled by car and then on the horse in the desert while deputies chased him. They had tried to serve a search warrant in an identity-theft investigation.
He said that once he was subdued he didn’t resist, but deputies were "hitting me in every place that they could hit me, anywhere and everywhere," even after his hands and feet were in cuffs.
While his family has said they planned a lawsuit, Pusok said he doesn’t "want a nickel" from the beating.
"I just want peace," he said. "I want to be left alone. I want to go about my life."