Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has asked the FBI to review the actions of police officers accused of covering up the beating last year of a 23-year-old man outside a nightclub, the Denver Post reports. The city’s video of the beating appeared on national news broadcasts Monday and went viral on the Internet after local reports over the weekend. The video, from a police surveillance camera in the Lower Downtown area, shows Michael DeHerrera doing nothing but talking on a cellphone 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.
The new city safety manager, Ron Perea, decided the beating was not excessive, but found that the officers filed inaccurate reports about it. Rather than fire them, 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 said DeHerrera was the aggressor and that he tried to hit Sparks. The video does not show that.