An off-duty Scottsdale police officer spewed racial slurs and slugged a cab driver in an apparent drunken rage Monday, according to a Tempe police report.
Tempe police cited Chance Lovell, 30, on one count of misdemeanor assault and released him after the incident.
Cab driver Omar Abdi, a Somalian refugee, said Lovell held up his badge and directed a racial epithet at him at one point.
“I was thinking maybe I’ll get killed tonight,” Abdi said.
Lovell, who is a member of the Scottsdale Police Department K-9 Unit, did not respond to a request for an interview left at a phone number listed for him.
A Scottsdale police spokesman said the department will conduct an internal affairs investigation and has placed Lovell in an administrative assignment while the criminal allegations are pending.
Abdi said he picked Lovell up at Fifth Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe and drove the officer around in circles because he wasn’t specific about his destination.
During the ride, Lovell said his brother was killed in Somalia and that Abdi should be in chains, Abdi said.
They ended up at a convenience store at 1380 N. Scottsdale Road after Lovell tried to grab the steering wheel, the report states.
They both got out of the car, and Lovell punched Abdi in the chest twice.
A store employee who witnessed parts of the altercation said Lovell pushed Abdi in the chest with open hands.
The Tempe officer who responded to the scene wrote that when he arrived, Lovell was in Abdi’s face with his right hand raised, pointing his finger.
“Abdi was backing up slowly and Lovell was walking forward, maintaining the small distance between the two men,” the police report states.
Lovell cooperated with police at first, but he couldn’t find his driver’s license in a stack of plastic cards he had in his pocket, and he smelled of alcohol, swayed and had watery eyes.
Officers later found his license in his wallet on the ground.
When an officer began questioning Abdi, Lovell kept yelling and interrupting.
The officer told him to quiet down five times before he placed Lovell in handcuffs and stuck him in the backseat of a patrol car, the report states.
Lovell has a clean discipline record in his seven-year career, seven commendations, three superior performance awards and was a nominee for the 2006 Chief’s Award of Excellence.