The Justice Department announced Tuesday that a former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer was indicted on charges of violating the civil rights of a person he was trying to arrest.
Richard Thomas Scavone, 49, is accused of using excessive force during an arrest. He’s also charged with obstruction of justice for falsifying a report.
It all unfolded in 2015. On March 17, 2015 the District Attorney’s office announced that it was filing misdemeanor battery charges against the eight-year veteran.
Metro said Scavone was patrolling the area on January 6, 2015 when he stopped a woman near Tropicana Avenue and Industrial Road.
Police said the officer said he stopped the woman, because he suspected she was involved in prostitution.
At the time of the incident, Scavone was wearing a body camera that recorded everything. The review of Scavone’s body camera video prompted Metro Police to conduct a full criminal investigation.
The actions of the officer were determined to be unreasonable and excessive. Metro submitted the case for criminal charges.
On Tuesday, the indictment of Scavone was returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Nevada.
The indictment alleges that Scavone grabbed the victim around the neck with his hand and threw her to the ground. It also states Scavone struck the woman in the forehead with an open palm and slammed her head two times onto the hood of his patrol vehicle. Scavone is also accused of slamming the victim into the door of his patrol vehicle.
Scavone faces the obstruction charge, because the report said on or about January 6, 2015, Scavone knowingly falsified and made false entries in a document with the intent of impeding, obstructing and influencing the investigation and proper administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the FBI.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the civil rights count, and a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine on the obstruction count.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Las Vegas Division. The case is being prosecuted by trial attorney Patricia Sumner of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Dickinson and Phillip Smith of the District of Nevada.