California man beaten by police during arrest gets $879,000 payout

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - US local authorities have agreed to pay US$650,000 (S$879,000) to a man beaten by police in a violent arrest caught on video following a horseback chase, officials said Tuesday.

Francis Jared Pusok, 30, a white male with a lengthy criminal record, will receive the payout to avoid litigation costs, San Bernardino County said, adding that it "acknowledges no wrongdoing" over the beating.

"The sole purpose of this agreement for both parties is to avoid the costs involved in litigation," said board of supervisors chairman James Ramos. "This agreement is a fair outcome for everyone involved, including the taxpayers."

Ten sheriff's deputies involved in the arrest earlier this month were put on leave on April 10 following the incident. San Bernardino County sheriff John McMahon said he was "disturbed" by footage of the arrest.

Video taken by a television news crew showed him being kicked 13 times, punched 37 times and struck four times with batons, according to local media reports.

Pusok was being served a warrant related to an identity theft investigation when he first fled on foot, then stole a horse, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.

Pusok made local news headlines in November 2013 when he was arrested at his Apple Valley home after allegedly threatening his girlfriend and shooting a dog.

The violent arrest occurred in desert scrub in Apple Valley, 130km from Los Angeles.

It came five days after a white police officer in the South Carolina city of North Charleston was caught on video gunning down a fleeing African American suspect.

The officer, Michael Slager, has since been charged with the murder of Walter Scott, 50, and fired from the force, in the latest fatal confrontation in the United States between white police officers and unarmed black suspects.

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