Tag Archives: coffee

Update: LVMPD Officer Caught on Body Cam Beating Woman For Littering Sentenced to Year in Prison

Excessive Force Prison Sentence Las Vegas Police Officer Richard Scavone

Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Richard Scavone has been sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting a handcuffed woman as part of a plea deal.

A Las Vegas police officer has been sentenced to one year in prison as part of a plea deal for beating a handcuffed woman. As I posted about previously on NVCopBlock, LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone was caught on his own body camera assaulting the woman in January of 2015. He had decided that Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was a prostitute, even though he readily admitted later to having no actual proof of that.

He then decided to arrest her for loitering and also for littering, after she threw her coffee on the ground. In the process of profiling her for legally standing on a public street, Scavone became angry because she cursed at him. In retaliation for her not respecting his authoritah (AKA committing “contempt of cop“), he assaulted her multiple times.

In addition to throwing her on the ground, he also slammed her head against the hood of his car twice (after she complained about him touching her breasts), grabbed her by the throat and hair, and slammed her into the door jam of the car as he was shoving her into the back seat. During that entire time, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz was handcuffed and not in any way whatsoever physically resisting.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

As I also posted about, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz  later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Officer Scavone. Also named in the excessive force lawsuit were the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Travis Buechler, a former Corrections Officer. Buechler, who has since been fired for some undisclosed reason, stood by and watched Scavone beat a woman like a Good Cop without reporting it or interceding in any way to stop it. She reportedly suffered permanent injuries to her head, back, and neck during the attack. That lawsuit was settled for $200,000 of taxpayers’ money in July of 2016.

Eventually, due to the body cam footage (embedded below) and the pending lawsuit Scavone was charged with several federal crimes including assault and falsifying an official police report to justify that assault. In September of 2017, he accepted a deal to plead guilty to just one count of “deprivation of rights under color of law.”

In spite of having all but one charge dropped and a letter from retired LVMPD Sgt. Raymond Reyes that spoke glowingly of his award winning career, impeccable reputation, and referred to him as “cop of cops,” Scavone actually received a harsher than expected sentence. Earlier this month, on January 11th, he was sentenced to a year in prison and an additional year of probation. He was also fined $20,000 given 300 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II.

Body Camera Footage of Officer Scavone’s Assault:

Posts Related to LVMPD Police Brutality

California Police Charge Man With “Driving Under the Influence” of Caffeine

**UPDATE** The DUI charge was dropped on December 29, 2016. (One day after this post was published – #JusSayin)

Joseph Schwab was pulled over in the Northern California county of Solano in August of 2015. In spite of a breathalyzer indicating he had no alcohol whatsoever in his system, he was arrested and forced to have blood drawn. Once again, no alcohol or any illegal drug was found in his system. In fact, the only drug found in his system was caffeine. In spite of that, he is being charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence of a drug.

Via TheGuardian.com:

Shcwab was driving home from work when he was pulled over by an agent from the California department of alcoholic beverage control, who was driving an unmarked vehicle. The agent said Schwab had cut her off and was driving erratically.

The 36-year-old union glazier was given a breathalyzer test which showed a 0.00% blood alcohol level, his attorney said. He was booked into county jail and had his blood drawn, but the resulting toxicology report came back negative for benzodiazepines, cocaine, opiates, THC, carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant), methamphetamine/MDMA, oxycodone, and zolpidem.

The sample was screened a second time by a laboratory in Pennsylvania, according to documents provided to the Guardian, where the sole positive result was for caffeine – a substance likely coursing through the veins of many drivers on the road at any given time.

“I’ve never seen this before,” said (defense attorney Stacey) Barrett. “I’ve never even heard of it.”

Barrett has filed a motion for the case to be dismissed because the charges were not brought until June 2016 – nearly 10 months after incident. If that motion is denied, Schwab will take his case to a jury on 11 January.

Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said in a statement that her office was “conducting further investigation in this matter”.

“The charge of driving under the influence is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system,” she added.

Barrett counters that if the prosecution has evidence of a different drug in her client’s system, it should have to provided that to her, based on the rules governing criminal procedings (sic).

“I have not been provided with any evidence to support a theory of prosecution for a substance other than caffeine at this time,” she said. “Nor I have received any statements, reports, etc documenting any ongoing investigation since the [toxicology report] dated 18 November 2015.”

Henry declined to comment further, citing the right to a fair trial.

“It’s really stupid,” said Jeffrey Zehnder, a forensic toxicologist who frequently testifies in court cases. Over 41 years, Zehnder said, he had never seen a prosecution for driving under the influence of caffeine.

“If that’s the case, then they better come and arrest me,” he joked.

Zehnder was informed about the case by Barrett, but has not been contracted to testify on either side.

California vehicle code defines a “drug” as any substance besides alcohol that could affect a person in a manner that would “impair, to an appreciable degree” his ability to drive normally.

Making that case with caffeine would be difficult, Zehnder said, because the prosecutor would have to show that impaired driving was specifically caused by the caffeine and not any other circumstances.

“There are no studies that demonstrate that driving is impaired by caffeine, and they don’t do the studies, because no one cares about caffeine,” he said.

As for Schwab, he just wants this ordeal to be over. In a statement provided to the Guardian by his attorney, he said his reputation had been damaged.

“No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results,” he said. “I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared.”

It’s interesting that the charges weren’t filed until 10 months later, which means they knew that the tests came back showing no drugs in his system. Sounds like somebody was hoping that Schwab would just accept some sort of plea deal rather than deal with the ridiculous charge, as most people do. It also shows that they don’t really have any evidence to support charges based on anything real, such as reckless driving, so they likely just rolled the dice hoping that he wouldn’t be able to afford a lawyer and they could just railroad him into pleading guilty to a lesser charge rather than dropping the obviously false DUI charge.

Update: Woman Beaten by LVMPD Officer For Littering Has Filed Civil Rights Lawsuit

LVMPD Police Brutality Excessive Force Officer Richard Scavone

In January, I posted about former LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone, who was caught on camera assaulting a woman. The immediate reason for his violent actions that day was that she had thrown a cup of coffee on the ground while he was in the process of profiling and harassing her. In reality, it was a case of “contempt of cop” in which the woman didn’t properly bow and scrape to his authoritah and possibly a bit of showing off to the corrections officer he was giving a ride along to at the time.

Now the woman he attacked and then arrested on trumped up charges to justify that arrest has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against him. In that lawsuit, Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz names the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Scavone, and former Corrections Officer Travis Buechler who was with Scavone at the time of the incident. Cal Potter, a Las Vegas civil rights lawyer, is representing Vizcarrondo-Ortiz in the lawsuit.

Via the Associated Press:

A California woman who authorities say was illegally beaten by a police officer wearing a body camera has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages from Las Vegas police, the former patrol officer and his partner at the time.

Officials have called the case one of the first to use body-camera video against an officer wearing the device.

Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz of Los Angeles said in her lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas that she suffered permanent face, neck and back injuries during her January 2015 arrest on littering and loitering for prostitution charges. The charges were later dropped.

Ortiz’s lawyer, Cal Potter, called her beating and arrest unjustified “street justice” for offending the arresting officer, Richard Thomas Scavone, by throwing a cup of coffee on the ground and refusing to put her hands behind her back to be handcuffed.

“He videotaped his own misconduct,” Potter said of Scavone. “It’s our belief that there was no basis for the stop or the arrest…”

The video hasn’t been made public. Officials have said it shows the woman’s face bleeding after she was thrown to the ground, grabbed by the neck and slammed by her head on the hood of a patrol car.

Scavone reported that Ortiz was combative and that he felt his safety was threatened.

A hearing date hasn’t been set in the civil lawsuit that also names the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and a former corrections officer, Travis Buechler, who was with Scavone at the time. It seeks damages greater than $225,000 and a declaration that the department’s use of a law banning loitering for prostitution is unconstitutional.

Officer Laura Meltzer, a police spokeswoman, cited department policy and declined to comment on the civil lawsuit. She said Buechler was suspended last July and fired in September after three years as a corrections officer. The court record didn’t indicate if Buechler had a lawyer.

Former Officer Scavone is still awaiting trial on the federal charges stemming from that incident. As stated in the AP quote, Former Corrections Officer Buechler has been fired, although there has been no indication when that happened or whether that was related to the beating.

Update: The bodycam video has now been released. Also, Vizcarrondo-Ortiz received a $250,000 settlement in June of 2016.

Audit Shows Alabama Sheriff Embezzled Tax Funds For Private Use

An audit of the money spent by Sheriff Scott Walls has exposed, among other issues, his illegal use of taxpayer money essentially as a personal expense account.

According to WAFF48 News:

In the audit dated January 2012-February 2014, 13 findings of non-compliance were found.

MORE: Audit findings involving sheriff (PDF) 

On the taxpayers dime, auditors found where the sheriff’s department had purchased candy, coffee, and popcorn as well as lunches for employees and other courthouse staff.

They also found where the departments warehouse was being used for non-law enforcement purposes after discovering it contained a 1960’s Corvette, home furniture, and a tractor.

Sheriff Scott WallsAuditors found some expenditures with no public purpose including a person’s $750 property tax bill was paid and a deputy traveling to Illinois to retrieve a vehicle for a private citizen without a warrant or court order.

Auditors also found vehicle repairs for vehicles not listed on the sheriff’s or county vehicle inventory was paid for. Auditors also found where two guns were removed from the evidence room and traded with no record made as well as nine weapons that were sold or traded without a written court order.

So, obviously the sheriff is being charged with embezzlement and awaiting trial, right? Of course not, apparently the only “punishment” he is receiving is having to pay back the money he stole to hold wild coffee and popcorn parties. Sheriff Walls claims that the audit where they found all that missing candy and lunch money was “politically motivated.” However, even though he disputes the exact amount he stole, he has admitted to owing (and payed back) $385. Normally when someone defrauds their employer and steals property they would face charges, plus be liable to pay back what they stole. Sounds like he is right that there’s political motives involved.

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