A Las Vegas police officer under investigation for the videotaped beating of a man in March violated several Metropolitan Police Department policies, an internal investigation found.
Mitchell Crooks' complaint about officer Derek Colling's excessive force was sustained, Deputy Chief Gary Schofield said Friday.
The specific policy violations will not be released until the case is finalized.
Crooks, 36, received a letter from the Internal Affairs Bureau notifying him of the findings earlier this week.
He said he was pleasantly surprised.
"It seems like they're saying he was guilty, which is what I've been saying," Crooks said. "I really hope he gets fired."
Colling has been on paid suspension since April 1.
Multiple supervisors in Colling's chain of command will review the internal affairs report and decide his punishment, if any, Schofield said.
That review could take several weeks.
If Colling's supervisors recommend his firing, he will go before a pre-termination board for a final appeal. The harshest punishment short of firing is a 40-hour unpaid suspension.
Crooks' lawyer, David Otto, intends to sue Colling and the Police Department.
Otto wrote a letter in April to Sheriff Douglas Gillespie demanding $500,000 to cover Crooks' medical care, pain and suffering. The Police Department has not paid anything, he said.
He intends to send another letter to Gillespie.
"Mr. Sheriff, show us the difference between what the officers did to Mitchell Crooks that night and kidnapping, beating and robbery," Otto said.
On the night of March 20, Crooks, 36, was in his driveway, near East Desert Inn Road and South Maryland Parkway, videotaping police as they investigated a burglary report across the street. Crooks said that when he refused to stop filming, Colling arrested and beat him, with much of the altercation recorded by the camera.
The video went viral on the Internet, and local activists and national "cop watch" blogs scrutiznized Colling's actions.
Local American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Allen Lichtenstein reviewed the video and found clear policy violations.
"It raises serious questions about whether the officer used good judgment and whether he was properly trained," Lichtenstein said. "Those questions require answers."
Rank-and-file officers who spoke to the Review-Journal after the incident were as demoralized as the public was incensed.
"The majority of us think Colling made a mistake," one patrol officer said. "All the officers I talked to understand that citizens will see this video, and yeah, we know it looks bad."
Neither Crooks nor Colling was a stranger to controversy.
Colling has been involved in two fatal shootings in his 5½ years as a Las Vegas police officer.
In 2006, he and four other officers shot Shawn Jacob Collins after the 43-year-old man pulled a gun at an east valley gas station.
In 2009, Colling shot and killed Tanner Chamberlain, a mentally ill 15-year-old who was holding a knife at his mother's neck and waving it at officers.
Both shootings were ruled justified by Clark County coroner's juries.
Chamberlain's mother, Evie Oquendo, sued Colling and the Police Department in May.
When the lawsuit was filed, Oquendo's lawyer asked why Colling was still working as an officer.
"He's killed two people in 5½ years and beaten one guy up that we know of," Brent Bryson said.
Crooks made headlines in 2002 when he videotaped two Inglewood, Calif., police officers beating a 16-year-old boy.
Crooks first tried to sell that tape and refused to give it to prosecutors. He then was jailed on old warrants from drunken driving and petty theft charges. Civil rights advocates decried the jailing as retribution.
He has lived in Las Vegas since 2003 and worked as a freelance videographer.
Crooks, who still carries his camera, said he was stopped last month by a Las Vegas officer who recognized him .
He was issued a ticket for no proof of insurance that was later dismissed, Crooks said.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283.