Court Rules in Use of Force Incident

Court Rules in Use of Force Incident

San Bernardino, CA

In a rare ruling against a police officer, last week jurors found San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputy Charles Foster guilty of assault under the color of authority by a public officer. 

A jury found Foster guilty for his role in the widely-televised beating of a man who attempted to escape authorities on horseback almost two years ago. Foster could be sentenced to serve up to three years in county jail. Also last week, the jury could not reach a verdict in the case against the two remaining deputies Michael Phelps and Nick Downey, who were also involved in the incident. 

On Monday, the two men pled no contest to a violation of disturbing the peace, Penal Code Section 425—a misdemeanor. Because of this agreement, the two officers were sentenced to one year probation and the remaining charges against them were dismissed. 

In a statement to the media, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said, “After re-evaluating the evidence and learning that the jury was hopelessly deadlocked, there is no reasonable likelihood that another jury would be able to reach a verdict.” He continued, “It’s time to move forward. I will reiterate what I have said all along, that the actions of these defendants should not tarnish the badge of the hardworking men and women of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.”

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