According to prosecutors, around 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, several Mercer County sheriff’s officers were dispatched to the Sun National Bank Center to assist arena staff with a group of people who were acting confrontational while entering the Life in Color paint party.
At some point during the incident, prosecutors say, the woman and several others were detained. Prosecutors are unsure which officer detained who, but while the woman was handcuffed, Sgt. Sean Lavin, 43, allegedly pepper sprayed her in the face.
“He used pepper spray to spray an arrestee in the face while she was handcuffed behind her back,” spokesperson for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Casey DeBlasio said Friday.
The sheriff’s office then received information about the incident, which prompted an investigation by Internal Affairs.
“We received an excessive force complaint involving Sgt. Lavin,” Undersheriff Pedro Medina said in a written statement. “The incident was reviewed preliminarily by the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Unit and then turned over to the county prosecutor’s office for their assessment. Allegations of this nature are not condoned by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.”
Then, according to court documents in the case, on Dec. 10, Lavin allegedly filed a false investigation report about the incident. He was charged with two counts of official misconduct on Dec. 12.
Lavin, who is a Hamilton resident employed by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office since July 2000, is currently suspended without pay.
The woman who was pepper sprayed received a summons for improper behavior.