Deputy in Horseback Pursuit Beat Previous Suspect Unconscious: Attorney - NBC Southern California

Coverage of a beating involving San Bernardino County deputies at the end of a high desert pursuit

Deputy in Horseback Pursuit Beat Previous Suspect Unconscious: Attorney

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The names were released of the 10 San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies who beat the man who led them on a horseback pursuit. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2015. (Published Monday, May 11, 2015)

    A San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy named among the 10 involved in the takedown of a man after a horseback pursuit beat another man unconscious during an arrest a few years ago, the man's attorney said Monday.

    Deputy Nicholas Downey beat Cody Williams during an arrest in 2011 for riding an all-terrain vehicle on a county road, said the attorney, Peter Schlueter.

    "Deputy Downey beat him so severely and he had a concussion," Schlueter said. "My client has very limited memory of the event."

    Schlueter said he was not surprised to hear Downey's name pop up on the list of deputies seen on NBC4 helicopter video involving the horse pursuit beating of Francis Pusok.

    Schlueter said he has extensively investigated Downey's past.

    "It appears that he has been, in essense, a bully ever since he was in high school," Schlueter said. "It seems he's found a profession where he can be a profession bully."

    Schlueter played audio from Downey's audio recorder in which it appears the deputy is dealing with a combative subject saying, "Stop resisting! Stop resisting."

    But Schlueter claims Williams never resisted arrest. A jury convicted his client.

    "So these officers have learned to yell these things as if someone's resisting," Schlueter said. "And so it's compelling for a jury to hear."

    San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said at least some of the deputies in the video were wearing audio recorders.

    McMahon vowed to thoroughly investigate the case.

    "Trust us, we will get to the bottom of it and we will continue to investigate fairly and thoroughly," he said.

    Downey's attorney, Michael D. Schwartz, said that the video is a small window of what happened.

    "The vantage point from the helicopter is not the vantage point of the deputies who are dealing with rough terrain and dust kicking up in their faces," he said. "Their vantage point is much more myopic than the helicopter from above. The deputies vantage point is going to be much more crucial in discerning what actually happened in this particular case."