March 31 (UPI) -- A sheriff's deputy in Southern California was convicted of assault for his role in the beating of a suspect following a chase on horseback in 2015.
Charles Foster, 35, faces up to three years in prison at an April 28 sentencing after a jury found him guilty of assault by a police officer, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office spokesman Christopher Lee said. Lee added that the jury agreed on Foster's guilt in the incident, but was deadlocked, 8-4, on the same charges against Michael Phelps, 31, and Nicholas Downey, 34, two other deputies involved. Prosecutors have not decided whether to retry Phelps and Downey.
The incident, on April 9, 2015, began with deputies arriving at a home to serve a search warrant in an identity theft case. Francis Pusok, who was present at the scene but not a suspect, although he had been arrested several times previously, fled at the sight othe deputies. A three-hour chase across the county's desert, which involved Pusok escaping on a stolen motorcycle and later a stolen horse, ended with a confrontation with officers. Video from a live television report from a hovering helicopter showed Pusok being beaten by the officers.
Pusok received a $650,000 settlement from the county after the incident. His trial, on charges including evading a police officer, resisting arrest, stealing an animal, cruelty to an animal and being under the influence of drugs, and vehicle theft, is scheduled to start in May.