Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper on Monday moved to have the FBI review the actions of police officers accused of covering up the beating of a 23-year-old man outside a LoDo nightclub.
"To help ensure justice is appropriately served, the city has requested the FBI review this case in its entirety," the mayor said in a prepared statement.
The city's video of the beating appeared on national news broadcasts Monday and went viral on the Internet following local reports over the weekend.
The video, from a surveillance camera, shows Michael DeHerrera doing nothing but talking on a cell phone when Officer Devin Sparks takes him down, face first to the ground, and begins hitting him with a department-issued device called a SAP, a piece of metal wrapped in leather.
Hickenlooper met with Ron Perea, his new safety manager, and asked for the FBI review of the April 4, 2009 incident.
"The mayor asked if I would have an issue with it," Perea said. "I welcome the transparency, and I welcome the FBI looking at the case in its entirety and totality, the way I reviewed it."
Perea decided the beating was not excessive, but found that the officers filed inaccurate reports about it. Rather than fire them, however, he docked them three days pay, prompting an objection from independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal. Rosenthal, who monitors investigations into allegations of police wrongdoing, has said Sparks and Cpl. Randy Murr should be fired for lying about what happened.
The officers claimed that DeHerrera was the aggressor, and that DeHerrera tried to hit Sparks. The video does not show that.
Perea said he will turn over the entire internal affairs investigation over to the FBI for review.