The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the beating of a 64-year old black man in flood-ravaged New Orleans.

The probe announced Monday was launched following the release of a videotape showing two uniformed New Orleans police officers repeatedly punching Robert Davis in the face and body as he was being arrested for public drunkedness.

Another officer is shown shoving and screaming at a news producer who was documenting the confrontation.

The three white police officers have been suspended from the police force without pay.  In court Monday, the men pleaded not guilty to charges of battery in connection with the Saturday evening incident.

An attorney for Mr. Davis said his client had not been drinking.  He said the retired school teacher had suffered fractures to the head from the beating, but was expected to recover.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters, AP.