An Albuquerque police officer caught on video repeatedly kicking a suspect and then giving a fellow officer a celebratory belly bump is seeking his old job back.

An attorney for John Doyle said this month in new court documents the fired officer was made a "sacrificial lamb" by a police force seeking to prevent a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

Doyle was fired in October 2011 after a hotel security video caught him and officer Robert Woolever beating a suspected car thief. Woolever was also fired.

Lawyer Shannon Kennedy is appealing Doyle's firing and says two officers who testified against Doyle at a personnel board hearing later contradicted their sworn testimony.

The city says it stands by the firing.

Albuquerque police are under a federal investigation over excessive force.