After former police officer Richard Scavone pleaded guilty to use of excessive force earlier this week, the Las Vegas police department have released the body cam footage that shows him forcing her to the ground and slamming her against the hood of his police car.
In January 2015, Scavone arrested Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz, allegedly for littering and loitering. When she swore at him during the arrest, he threatened her with a taser, told her he was “going to dump [her] on the floor in a minute,” and asked her, “Who the hell you think you’re talking to?”
In the body cam video of the event, released to the public this week, Scavone then pushes the woman to the ground, slaps her in the face, slams her face into the hood of his car, twice, pulls her hair, and grabs her by the neck.
When Scavone reaches into her blouse and Vizcarrondo-Ortiz attempts to squirm free, he slams her face against the hood of the car, saying loudly, “Never pull away from me!”
During the assault, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz can be heard screaming, clearly terrified. She alleges that she has “permanent face, neck and back injuries” because of the assault.
In February 2016, she filed a civil rights lawsuit against the LVMPD. Scavone was also fired and indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of excessive force and obstruction of justice.
Scavone has plead guilty to both charges, and he faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. As part of his plea deal, he will not be able to work with law enforcement in the future.
Scavone was accused of not only using excessive force against Vizcarrondo-Ortiz, but of falsifying his report on the incident to impede the investigation.
The falsification of his report was discovered when it was compared to his body cam footage, and the video of the event was one of the key pieces of evidence against him.
This is one of the first cases in American judicial history where an officer has been charged because of footage from their own body cams. To many, it sets a precedent.
“As Mr. Scavone realized today, no one is above the law,” Las Vegas Special Agent In Charge Aaron Rouse said in a statement. “Law enforcement takes an oath to protect and serve our communities. We are, and rightfully should be, held to a higher standard.”