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Alleged Taser use brings excessive force charges

An officer and a former officer in Desert Hot Springs allegedly used a stun gun on three unarmed suspects, two of whom were in handcuffs.

April 07, 2010|By Tony Barboza

A Desert Hot Springs police officer and a former officer have been charged with using excessive force when they allegedly stunned three unarmed suspects, two of them handcuffed, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Officer Anthony Sclafani, 40, and former officer David Raymond Henderson, 51, surrendered voluntarily and were booked Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles before a court appearance.

A federal grand jury indicted the men last year on civil rights charges in three incidents in 2004 and 2005.

Sclafani used an X26 Taser gun in February 2005 to stun a man who was handcuffed and in police custody at the Desert Hot Springs jail, according to the indictment and an interview with Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Arkow.

In a separate incident the next day, Sclafani allegedly used a Taser to stun a woman detained at the jail and pepper-sprayed her face and eyes.

Henderson is charged with stunning a handcuffed man during an arrest in August 2004 when he worked for the Desert Hot Springs Police Department.

Calls to the department were not immediately returned.

Henderson's attorney, Vicki Podberesky, said she could not comment because she had not seen the charges. An attorney for Sclafani did not immediately return phone calls or an e-mail message.

tony.barboza@latimes.com

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