Former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officer Richard Scavone pleaded guilty today in federal court to assaulting a handcuffed woman in his custody. Federal Court works quite differently than state criminal Court. Since this case probably involved a federal question issue the department of justice became involved in the case and did the investigation. Since the officer did not know the person he assaulted there was no domestic violence.
Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI’s Las Vegas Office made the announcement.
According to admissions made in the plea agreement, on January 6, 2015, Scavone, 50, was working as an LVMPD patrol officer, and was accompanied in his patrol car by an LVMPD jail corrections officer on a ride-along. At approximately 5:00 a.m., Scavone and the ride-along encountered A.O., who was talking on the phone and holding a cup of coffee. When Scavone told A.O. to “move along,” A.O responded that she was waiting on someone and threw her cup of coffee to the ground. Scavone, who was wearing a body-worn camera that recorded video and audio, exited his patrol car and approached A.O. with a Taser in hand.
Scavone admitted that during the interaction with A.O., and while A.O. was handcuffed, he: shoved A.O. to the ground; grabbed her around the neck with his hand and threw her to the ground; struck her in the forehead with an open palm; grabbed her by the head and slammed her face onto the hood of his patrol vehicle; grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face onto the hood of his patrol vehicle a second time; and slammed A.O. into the door of his patrol vehicle.
Scavone admitted that he took those actions without legal justification and that he knew his actions were against the law.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Nevada citizens, regardless of their backgrounds,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Myhre. “The defendant took an oath to serve and protect with honor and integrity. Misconduct such as this will not be tolerated and those who break the law will be held accountable for their actions.”
“As Mr. Scavone realized today, no one is above the law,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “Law enforcement takes an oath to protect and serve our communities. We are, and rightfully should be, held to a higher standard. Every day, the vast majority of police officers in our community uphold that standard under difficult, dangerous conditions. However, when law enforcement breaks that vow, they will be held accountable.”
After conducting its own investigation into Scavone’s conduct, LVMPD terminated Scavone’s employment.
Civil rights violations fall under the federal governments perview and will be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A bystanders such as the lady involved in this incident who was essentially attacked and assaulted by the police officer will be directed to the federal government to do the investigation. Evidence in this case was easy to ascertain as the police officer was wearing a body camera which provided a first hand evidence of what occurred.