A Las Vegas police officer is facing a misdemeanor battery charge after his arrest of a local woman is caught on camera. The woman in question was stopped by police at 5 a.m. PST on January 6 and questioned about her trying to procure work as a prostitute. When Officer Richard Scavone instructed the woman to move along, she threw a cup of coffee in the opposite direction of the police officer and refused to move. Officer Scavone confronted the woman, and apparently wounded her during the physical altercation.
The body camera that the officer was wearing is part of a new program for the Las Vegas Police Department. The technology is so new that, according to the spokesman for the police department, no use of video from the camera has been used in a criminal case yet. The video is reviewed after each time the police use force during an arrest or other altercation with a civilian. The use of force report was initially filed by Officer Scavone, and then, it was reviewed by his superiors. It was determined that the use of force was not only excessive, but also unreasonable.
The woman in question was initial charged with loitering and littering; however, those charges have since been dropped because of the wounds that she suffered at the hands of Officer Scavone. The wounds were on or near her face.
Officer Scavone has faced investigation before after shooting a burglary suspect in 2010. The spokesman for the police department, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, would not give comment on Officer Scavone’s actions prior to the night in question of January 6. Scavone is an eight-year veteran officer and has been decorated for meritorious service. There was no further description of the circumstances on the police website.
District Attorney Steve Wolfson commented that police officers handle a lot of different situations and most of them handle themselves in an appropriate as well as professional manner. However, there are consequences for those that do not. Mr. Wolfson announced that the department would move forward in their pursuit of criminal charges against Officer Scavone.
Officer Scavone was one of 400 volunteer police officers that have been participating in the body camera study conducted by the Las Vegas Police Department. In a recent study conducted in Rialto, California, it was shown that during the year the police have worn body cameras, complaints against the police and police brutality cases dropped dramatically compared to previous years without the body cameras.
In January 2015, the use of body camera footage was used to establish blame for the murder of a paranoid schizophrenic citizen of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was shot and killed by Albuquerque police. The victim, James Boyd, was camping in the nearby mountains when the incident occurred.
The footage from the body camera worn by Officer Scavone will not yet be released to the public because it is being used in an ongoing investigation by the Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County district attorney. Officer Scavone has been placed on paid leave until the conclusion of the investigation and criminal charges have been assessed.
By Deneishia Jacobpito
Photo by Roadsidepictures Flikr License