A former Las Vegas police officer was arrested last week following an internal investigation into alleged misconduct including making a mentally ill man dance for her, force-feeding a handcuffed man gummy bears, filming another man’s genitals and using racial and homophobic epithets.
Each of the incidents was recorded on Rachel Sorkow’s personal cellphone, authorities said.
Sorkow, 29, is charged with five felony counts of misconduct of a police officer and two misdemeanor charges, indecent exposure and capturing the image of the private area of another person, according to a news release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. At the time of the incidents, she was assigned to the department’s Community Policing Division.
“Detectives learned that on multiple occasions, Sorkow utilized criminal justice information systems and disseminated that information to unauthorized people,” the news release said. “It was also discovered that there were several interactions with citizens that Sorkow video-recorded on a personal phone in violation of department policy.
“In one of the videos, the private area of a person was recorded without that person’s knowledge.”
Sorkow’s attorney, Tony Sgro, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that the former officer will fight the charges against her.
“We intend to vigorously defend the allegations and look forward to vetting this out in the courtroom,” Sgro told the Review-Journal. “She took her job as a police officer seriously, and it’s important to not make any judgments until people have heard both sides.”
An arrest report obtained by The Las Vegas Sun details the troubling allegations against Sorkow, who was relieved of duty with pay in December. She was terminated last week upon her arrest.
The Sun reported that the internal investigation into Sorkow began in September, after the department learned through a separate case that a felon had talked the officer into checking into whether police officers were following him. The Review-Journal reported that a “cooperating individual” in the other case witnessed the felon ask Sorkow for a records check on a car he believed was an undercover police car.
Detectives soon found out that Sorkow went beyond helping that one man by giving friends and acquaintances addresses and license plate numbers of other people, as well as doing background checks on dating prospects for her friends.
In one case, she looked up information on another female officer’s ex-boyfriend, who the officer believed had stolen her car, KTNV in Las Vegas reported. The other officer used the data to find the man at his home and confront him.
Another piece of information she provided, this time to a civilian, was a nonredacted report in a child abuse case, the Sun reported. The report named the children involved.
Investigators, who say they found at least 19 instances in which Sorkow accessed law enforcement databases to illegally gather information, met with the officer in December to inform her of the criminal investigation into her alleged actions, the Sun said. At that time, they confiscated her cellphone.
A search of Sorkow’s phone turned up even more disturbing information, including incriminating text messages and seven videos involving four different citizens with whom she came into contact while on-duty, the arrest report obtained by the newspaper said. She also shared photos and screenshots of the incident report in a child neglect case, in which dead rats were found in the home where the neglect took place.
The report had personal information on it, KTNV reported.
The videos, recorded between April 2017 and May 2018, showed the following:
Sorkow recorded a man believed to be mentally ill standing next to her patrol car April 14, 2017. In the video, the man is wearing a dress.
“I just want to see you dougie and twerk and then we’re good,” Sorkow is heard saying, according to the Sun. “Come on!”
She also ordered the man to show her another dance move, the “Superman,” KTNV reported.
She sent that video to at least three people, the news station reported.
The Sun reported that another unnamed officer “intentionally” ran into that same man a couple of months later, after which the officer sent Sorkow a message: “Bahahaha, ran into your boo. LOL. Shouted you out, hah.”
Sorkow responded, “I have fun with these (expletives). Hahaha.”
She called the man a transphobic slur, the report said.
On Nov. 1, 2017, Sorkow recorded herself pulling up to a scene with a handcuffed man, the Sun reported. A package of gummy bears sits on the hood of another patrol car as she arrives.
“Partners with the community, feeding criminals gummy bears,” Sorkow is heard saying.
KTNV reported that “Partners with the Community” is a slogan painted on the department’s patrol cars.
The recording shows another officer putting a piece of the candy in the handcuffed man’s mouth.
“Was that good, bro?” Sorkow asks.
“Is that scrumptious?” the other officer asks.
“Give him another one, give him another one!” Sorkow says. “Open your mouth! Eat it!”
The Sun reported that Sorkow laughed when internal investigators confronted her about the recording.
“That’s not malicious, again, like, that’s just who I am. I like joking. I joke all the time,” Sorkow said, according to her arrest report.
The newspaper reported that Sorkow also laughed when confronted with a Jan. 24, 2018, video she recorded during a domestic violence call involving a 250-pound woman who was “very intoxicated,” according to investigators. Sorkow and the victim in the domestic violence case are heard joking about the woman’s weight in the recording.
KTNV reported that Sorkow asks the woman, who is sitting in the back seat of a patrol car, what she loves, and the woman talks about brownies and doughnuts.
Sorkow asks the woman if she has ever considered going on “My 600-pound Life,” a TLC reality show that follows overweight individuals as they undergo bariatric surgery and through their subsequent weight loss.
The officer cheers in the video after asking the woman to pull her pants down and show her stomach and, at one point, asks, “Do you breastfeed?”
The woman says she does not and, rubbing her right breast, tells Sorkow she “has the boobs to do it,” the news station reported.
Sorkow shared that video with eight people, the Sun reported.
In the fourth incident, which took place May 16, Sorkow and her partner, who was also the officer feeding the handcuffed man gummy bears, responded to a complaint of a suspect exposing himself in front of a Las Vegas business. The handcuffed suspect is seen in a recording kicking a patrol car, the newspaper said.
“Do it again,” Sorkow tells him.
The man, apparently unaware of a rip in the crotch of his pants, kicks the car again as Sorkow, heard giggling, zooms in on his groin.
“When (redacted) raises his right leg, his penis is exposed through the rip, making it clearly visible to Sorkow,” the arrest report stated, according to the Sun.
Once the man was in a patrol car, Sorkow asks him, “What’s up, my (shortened version of N-word)?”
The man says the word, after which Sorkow uses the full version of the epithet and asks him what it means.
“And what are black people?” she is heard saying.
One of three recordings of that suspect shows Sorkow and the man talking about the size of his genitals, KTNV reported.
Again, Sorkow told investigators she was joking in that incident, the Sun said. She sent the videos to multiple friends and family members, as well as some other police officers, the arrest report said.
It was not clear if Sorkow’s partner had been disciplined in any of the incidents for which he was present, the newspaper said. The Review-Journal reported that the male officer, whose name has not been released, told investigators, “The only thing I remember is we thought it was funny, you know?”
Sorkow told investigators she recorded the people in the videos because she “thought it was funny” and that the people were OK with her recording them and sharing the videos.
“Was it right of me? No,” Sorkow told them in a Feb. 19 interview, the Review-Journal reported. “But I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I didn’t laugh.”
Sorkow is due in court for a preliminary hearing June 10, the newspaper said. According to Nevada law, she faces up to four years in prison for each of the five counts of misconduct and up to a year on each of the two misdemeanor charges.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.