PITTSBURGH - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is launching an investigation into a violent bar brawl involving undercover Pittsburgh detectives.
The four officers remain on duty as investigations by the Office of Municipal Investigations, the Citizen Police Review Board and now the FBI are underway.
The FBI won't comment on the investigation, but told Channel 11 it is often called to look at potential civil rights violations.
Sources told 11 Investigates that the fight between four undercover Pittsburgh police officers and members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club that was caught on surveillance camera at Kopy's Bar on the South Side has now been referred to the FBI.
- Channel 11 obtains signed statement from bar owner about fight between police, Pagans
- New video shows police, Pagans Motorcycle Club members drinking together
- Police, motorcycle club brawl at South Side bar
- VIDEO: 4 arrested after violent altercation between police, motorcycle gang
- DOWNLOAD the Channel 11 News app for breaking news alerts
In one of the videos, an undercover officer is seen punching a biker in the head more than 19 times as he's held on the bar.
"It's appropriate that the FBI look into this," said Beth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board. "You had an extraordinary use of force against one of the motorcycle club members, and I think everyone has seen the video where he was held and restrained."
Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich released this statement to Channel 11:
"The public and our police officers deserve an impartial examination of the facts. We welcome the FBI's involvement and pledge to fully cooperate."
The four undercover officers said they were investigating drug activity in the bar, but attorneys for the bikers said the officers spent five hours driving at the bar and instigated the fight with the Pagans.
Police charged the Pagans with assault, but now the officers have come under scrutiny.
"There's a question about civil rights violations, as well as the excessive use of force, which would violate the individual's civil rights," Pittinger said.
The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office told Channel 11 it is preparing for a preliminary hearing for the Pagans on Friday. An attorney for one of them said she plans to subpoena the police officers to appear in court then.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.