DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. -

Former Desert Hot Springs Police Officer Anthony Sclafani was sentenced to four years in federal prison Monday for violating the civil rights of two suspects in police custody.

United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. handed out the sentence which is to begin September 24.  Judge Hatter also ordered Sclafani to perform 500 hours of community service after the completion of his prison sentence.

In February Sclafani was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of deprivation of rights under the color of law.  This coming from complaints that Sclafani used a taser gun and pepper spray on two suspects in two separate incidents in February of 2005.  One suspect was handcuffed while Sclafani used pepper spray and a Taser.

"I don't believe I should have to live in fear of police brutality, no matter what
my background or where I come from," the victim said in court today.

The second victim accused Sclafani of using pepper spray and a taser on her while she was drunk in a locked cell.

According to court papers Sclafani "intimidated, abused and repeatedly assaulted two helpless victims who were in his custody at the jail in two separate incidents without any lawful justification. To cover up his illegal conduct, he then concocted lies that the victims were combative and physically resistant to justify his use of force."