A former Las Vegas Metro police officer was sentenced Thursday for his use of excessive force during a 2015 arrest.
U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II sentenced Richard Scavone, 51, to 12 months in prison and one year of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and complete 300 hours of community service after serving his term of imprisonment.
On Sept. 29, 2017, Scavone pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.
According to a plea agreement, Scavone,who wore a body-worn camera
, admitted that, on Jan. 6, 2015, he assaulted a handcuffed woman, identified as Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz, who was in his custody outside a Hampton Inn Hotel on Tropicana Boulevard. He admitted that during the interaction with the woman, and while she was handcuffed, he shoved her to the ground; grabbed her around the neck; 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. He also grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face into the hood of his patrol car a second time and slammed her into the door of his patrol vehicle.
Video shows that Vizcarrondo-Ortiz complied with Scavone's commands by putting her hands behind her back, but also cursed at the officer.
"I'm going to dump you on the floor in a minute. Who the hell you think you're talking to?" Scavone said, 15 seconds before throwing her to the ground. "What else you want me to do, tough guy?"
"Go ahead and take me to jail. That's all I wanted you to do," Vizcarrondo-Ortiz responded. "Don't touch my breast!"
"Don't ever pull away from me," Scavone said, slamming her face into the hood of his car and reaching into her shirt to retrieve a cell phone.
Scavone said he believed the woman was a prostitute. He did not have any proof, so instead he arrested her for littering.
Prosecutors never charged Vizcarrondo-Ortiz with a crime.
Metro's office of public information declined to release her mugshot, describing her as a "victim" not a suspect. The mugshot would have depicted injuries caused by Scavone.
As a part of the plea deal, Scavone admitted that he took his actions without legal justification and knew that it was against the law.
After Metro conducted its own investigation into Scavone's conduct, the department terminated his employment.
"We are not going to shy away from bringing these incidents to light when a body camera captures actions of one of our officers that does not appear to be within the confines of law and policy," said Undersheriff Kevin McMahill in 2015.
Scavone was the first Metro officer to be arrested because of his body camera.
The case was also investigated by the FBI with Metro's cooperation.
Prior to his conviction, Scavone received the "meritorious service award" from Metro. He received the award after he shot and captured a home-invasion robbery suspect in his neighborhood while he was off-duty.
against the department, the officer, and his partner.Metro settled the lawsuit for $200,000.
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