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3 San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies Charged in Pusok Case

SAN BERNARDINO:( San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos announced Tuesday, that his office filed charges against three San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies involved in a use of force incident against Francis Pusok.

The officers involved have been identified as Nicholas Downey, Michael Phelps and Charles Foster.

Photo courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff)
(Photo courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff)

Downey, Phelps and Foster were each charged with one count of (PC 149) Assault By A Public Officer. If convicted as charged, each officer faces up to three years in County Prison. All three deputies are expected to appear in court for arraignment Sept. 8, 2015, at the San Bernardino Justice Center.

On April 9, 2015 suspect Francis Pusok, stole a horse and led deputies on an extensive pursuit that ended under the watch of a news camera.

This is an ongoing case, and no further details will be provided at this time.

“The vast majority of our law enforcement officers do an excellent job of protecting the public,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “However, in those rare instances when an officer crosses the line and uses excessive force, the officer must be held accountable. Today, we have taken the first steps to hold these officers accountable.”

The Safety Employee Benefits Association (SEBA) represents 3,400 sworn peace officers in San Bernardino County, including those who are facing criminal charges in the above-mentioned incident. The primary focus of SEBA is to ensure members have the same legal right to representation as any private citizen, including the notion of being innocent until proven guilty.

“As a union it is not our place to pass judgment but simply to offer support of our members and make sure each deputy in this case has access to legal representation.,” said SEBA President Laren Leichliter. “The case will be tried in a court of law, not public opinion. We must defer any judgements to the judicial system – a system that insists the deputies are innocent until proven guilty.”

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