Three Deputies Charged in Horseback Pursuit Beating Plead Not Guilty

4-9-15 Horse Pursuit Beating Sheriff Apple Valley 7

Three San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies accused of beating a man who took off on a horse say their actions were justified.

Nicholas Downey, Michael Phelps and Charles Foster pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday.

The deputies are accused of beating 30-year-old Francis Pusok at the end of a long pursuit in San Bernardino County — a beating filmed exclusively by NBC4.

Ten deputies were placed on administrative leave April 10, a day after the incident.

But three deputies were charged in the case.

The beating happened after Pusok, of Apple Valley, led them on a nearly three-hour pursuit that began when authorities tried to serve a warrant in an identity theft investigation that Pusok's attorney said had nothing to do with him.

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