Denver City Attorney's Office accused of influencing internal investigation into beating of inmate

DENVER - Emails obtained by 7NEWS suggest the Denver City Attorney's Office is trying to influence an internal affairs investigation into the beating of inmate Jamal Hunter.

Officers are accused of intimidating an inmate who witnessed it.

The wording in the emails suggest that the officers investigating the incident act in favor of the city.

Hunter Motion: http://ch7ne.ws/VuZvAm

Hunter Exhibit 1: http://ch7ne.ws/1lm46K6

Hunter Exhibit 2: http://ch7ne.ws/1pZ4wMA

Hunter Exhibit 11: http://ch7ne.ws/1m6ICa8

Attorneys say they are so concerned there is systematic corruption they filed a motion with the federal courts asking for all files from the last seven years between the city attorney and internal investigators.

The files typically remain sealed.

The city attorney would not directly answer questions asked by 7NEWS, but issued this prepared statement:

The City Attorney's Office does not typically comment on active litigation.  However, in this case we want to note that our attorneys always act in the public interest and with the highest integrity. The judge issued a schedule for our office to respond to the allegations, which we take seriously, and we will provide that response in the proper judicial forum.

- Scott Martinez, Denver City Attorney 

A federal judge asked prosecutors to investigate whether intimidation occurred.

Nancy Leong, an associate professor at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law, says the cases are a challenge for prosecutors, who have to prove not just that an officer violated someone's civil rights but that they intended to.

The latest allegations against the police and sheriff's departments came as part of a civil rights lawsuit filed in Denver by former inmate Jamal Hunter, who says a sheriff's deputy not only failed to protect him during a July 2011 beating by fellow inmates but encouraged the attack.

-- See the video: http://ch7ne.ws/1mSzKQy

In the attack, caught on video, Deputy Edward Keller is seen shoving Hunter, grabbing him by the neck and choking him down onto a cell bunk.  Three other deputies join Keller in pinning Hunter on the cell floor while a fifth deputy, Sgt. Anthony Mazzei, twice shocks the inmate with a Taser stun gun.

The video doesn't show Hunter resisting or physically threatening any deputies.

The sheriff's review found "this incident involved a demonstrable, serious risk to the inmate."

Keller received a 30-day suspension for using excessive force and is now named in a civil suit brought by Hunter against the city of Denver.

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