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2 Desert Hot Springs officers charged with excessive force for allegedly Tasering unarmed suspects

April 6, 2010 | 12:38 pm

A Desert Hot Springs police officer and a former officer have been charged with using excessive force when they stunned three unarmed suspects, two of whom were 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 an afternoon court appearance.

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

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

In a separate incident the next day, Sclafani allegedly used a Taser to stun a woman detained in 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 department.

Calls to the Desert Hot Springs Police 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