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Former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officer Richard Scavone pleaded guilty today in federal court to assaulting a handcuffed woman in his custody.
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.
Scavone faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Sentencing will be held on January 11, 2018.
“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.
This case was investigated by the Las Vegas Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the cooperation of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Phillip N. Smith, Jr. and Nicholas Dickinson of the District of Nevada and Trial Attorney Julia Gegenheimer of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.