Former Officer Richard Scavone of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was indicted by a federal grand jury on civil rights charges. Those charges related to excessive force during an arrest of a woman that he had originally begun harassing based on his belief that she was a prostitute.
He also faces charges based on his falsification of the arrest report to justify assaulting her by claiming she was combative and that he was defending himself when he beat her. Although the footage hasn’t been released yet, Scavone was wearing a body cam at the time. The video from that camera did not match his report, which led to an investigation. that investigation initially led to local misdemeanor battery charges, as well as his firing from the LVMPD. The federal charges are both felonies.
Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:
According to the indictment, Scavone, while acting under color of law, handcuffed the woman on Jan. 6, 2015, and assaulted her several times.
He grabbed the woman around her neck and threw her to the ground, struck her in the forehead with an open palm, slammed her face into the hood of his patrol car two times and slammed her into the door of his car, the indictment alleges.
The actions resulted in “bodily injury” to the woman, the indictment alleges.
Scavone also falsified a use-of-force report about his confrontation with the woman, according to the indictment.
Authorities last year said Scavone was wearing a body camera during the scuffle, but police have not made the recording public.
Scavone had stopped a woman about 5 a.m. near Tropicana Avenue and Interstate 15, where he said she was loitering and trying to solicit work as a prostitute, according to authorities.
His supervisors concluded his use of force was “excessive” and “unreasonable,” Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters after the district attorney’s office filed criminal charges in March.
The woman was charged with littering and loitering, but those charges were dismissed, McMahill said.
Scavone was put on paid administrative leave when the allegations against him first surfaced, but was terminated from the department on Sept. 10, police said.
The federal case was investigated by the Las Vegas FBI and is being prosecuted jointly by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., and the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office.
Apparently, Officer Scavone was angry that she didn’t immediately comply with his order to leave a public street that she had every right to be on and also had thrown a cup of coffee over her shoulder. This also isn’t the first time his actions have been questioned. Several years earlier, another person came forward (video embedded below) claiming to have been beaten by Scavone. At that time, there was no video of the incident so Scavone’s police report was automatically accepted as the official version of events and the assault was ruled justified.
In addition, back in 2010 Scavone was involved in the shooting of a burglary suspect. That time he was given the typical paid vacation and, as was the trend at the time, given an award for bravery after “investigators” declared the shooting justified, as is the longstanding tradition for Las Vegas area police departments.