The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been the subject of a number of investigations and scandals going back to the 1990s. It is also a city with one of the highest rates of officer involved shootings in the entire United States. Fortunately, there have been some instances where the local police have been held accountable for misconduct. There are also many other cases where police are either never formally disciplined or their inappropriate behavior is never reported.
An incident where an officer’s body camera footage showed him assaulting a handcuffed woman in 2015 resulted in a criminal conviction and one year imprisonment. He later also falsified a police report in an attempt to justify the violent arrest.
Metro officer sentenced to prison for beating a woman and false arrest
Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Richard Scavone had begun to harass a woman for littering by throwing a coffee cup on the street and also accused her of being a prostitute. After a brief verbal altercation he handcuffed her and then proceeded to commit multiple misappropriate acts. His own body camera footage shows him slamming her on the ground and into the hood of his car multiple times. He is also seen grabbing her breasts, grabbing her hair and throat, and shoving her into the door jam as he placed her into the back of his car. During the course of the video the much larger male officer is clearly able to physically overpower her and there is no evidence of her violently resisting or attempting to escape.
The victim later filed a lawsuit against Scavone and the other officer who stood by and watched as the beating took place. She suffered injuries to her head, back, and neck, and was awarded a $200,000 settlement in 2016. Scavone was also charged criminally for assault and filing a false police report after the body camera footage surfaced. He took a plea deal in 2017 that included a conviction on one of the counts and dismissal of the second in exchange for one year in prison, one year of probation, along with fines and community service.
While this incident resulted in the victim receiving a good measure of justice through both the criminal and civil lawsuits against the officer, it is important to remember that police are rarely disciplined this severely. Many people are afraid to have to report misconduct to the same department that caused the injuries, and even if allegations of misconduct are investigated, the officers are usually placed on administrative leave for a brief period of time and go right back to work.
What to do when mistreated by the police
In any cases of abuse like the one mentioned above, it is best to retain any available evidence, notify the department or relevant state government agency, and obtain legal help. Cases that get more publicity and have solid evidence captured by video or body cameras tend to be the most likely to result in disciplinary actions or criminal charges against the officer. Any relevant evidence can also be used in a civil lawsuit to compensate victims for their injuries. Today, recording technology that is widely available on phones, placed in police cars, or on their bodies for surveillance helps to retain records of police action.
Get assistance from a lawyer in Las Vegas
If you have been injured by police actions in Las Vegas or anywhere nearby in Nevada, a lawyer can speak with you about possibly filing a lawsuit. Southwest Injury Law has been helping many injured people receive compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering.