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Officer Charged With Assaulting Cab Driver

 Scottsdale Police Officer Arrested in Tempe (Online Video)

Abdi Omar &  officer Lovell

5 Investigates Lovell's Background

PHOENIX -- Scottsdale police said they have opened an internal affairs investigation into the case of an officer arrested in Tempe on charges of assaulting a taxi driver.

Officer Chance Lovell was arrested early Tuesday morning.

A Tempe police report says Lovell was intoxicated when Omar Abdi picked him up in his cab outside a Tempe bar.

Abdi said Lovell started harassing him inside the cab, using racial slurs and saying things like, "Do you have a chain between your legs?"

Abdi said things got so out of hand that he feared for his life and pulled into a gas station to drop Lovell off in a public place.

Abdi said he asked Lovell to get out of the cab.

That's when, according to the police report, Lovell punched Abdi twice in the stomach.

Lovell was arrested and released by Tempe police after being cited for misdemeanor assault.

Abdi attended a press conference Wednesday held by the Somali-American United Council, during which the council demanded that Lovell be fired.

"What he did to Mr. Omar Abdi he could do to anybody else and we want this police officer off the streets," said Abdifatah Mohamed, council director.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Scottsdale police said, "We have opened an internal affairs investigation into the matter and have placed Officer Lovell on administrative assignment. Our agency will be awaiting the outcome of the criminal case before concluding our internal investigation."

5 Investigates dug deeper into Lovell's background.

Lovell is a Scottsdale police K-9 handler and has been with the department since 1999.

5 Investigates found no formal discipline. In fact, Lovell received seven letters of commendation and three superior performance awards and was nominated for the 2006 chief's award of excellence.

Source: KPHO, April 11, 2007


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