Three Deputies Are On Trial For Allegedly Beating a Man Who Led Them On a Car and Horse Chase

Opening statements began Thursday in the beating case of three San Bernardino County deputies accused of assaulting a man after a pursuit involving a horse that was caught exclusively by NewsChopper4.

The prosecutor told jurors that deputies Nicholas Downey, Michael Phelps and Charles Foster are guilty of assault under the color of authority, and pointed out that the deputies are seen repeatedly punching and kicking Francis Pusok while he was lying facedown after the April 2015 chase.

The prosecutor also synchronized the overhead helicopter video with the audio belt recorders worn by the deputies that day.

In those recordings you can hear one deputy screaming "Stop resisting" over and over again as Pusok was lying facedown with his hands behind his back.

The prosecutor told jurors it was a ploy to make it sound like Pusok was resisting.

"The prosecution has it wrong. That's the bottom line," defense attorney Michael Schwartz countered.

During his opening statement, Schwartz refuted what was going on in the video, saying the prosecution made a big mistake by misidentifying one of the deputies and confusing him with another deputy.

He argued Pusok was moving his hands and at least one of the deputies accidentally kicked him in the face as he was trying to kick away Pusok’s hands.

"If you dissect it, their actions can be explained. They’re on the side of a mountain. It's steep. They get a guy who's been a fleeing felon, a danger to the entire community and not knowing if he's armed,” he said. “They're doing the best they can."

If convicted, the deputies could get up to three years in jail.

They will be back in court on Tuesday.

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