SHEPPTON, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We start Friday night with a story you will only see on Eyewitness News. As questions are being raised about the circumstances around the arrest of a Schuylkill County man last month, an arrest captured on police body cam.
The attorney for the man who was arrested insists the body cam video shows that his client should not have been arrested and that police used excessive force.
This story is unfolding right now and Eyewitness News must tell you the video is very intense. The attorney for the man who was arrested says this should never have happened in the first place.
“When I reviewed the body cam footage. I found what the officer had put in his affidavit and what the officer had testified to was completely contrary to what I saw on the body cam footage,” said attorney Joseph Nahas, who represents Dennis Antonelli.
Attorney Joseph Nahas is talking about the arrest of his client 43-year-old Dennis Antonelli on the night of May 13.
It all started when East Union Township Police Officer Christopher Dimmick and a Shenandoah Police Officer escorted Antonelli’s live-in girlfriend to the house in Sheppton to retrieve some personal belongings. She had left the home earlier that day as some sort of break-up.
Antonelli tells the officers that he owns the home and she was not allowed to come in and neither were they. He closed the front door and shuts off the light.
I want to [expletive] hook him up so bad. He’s such an [expletive],” said Christopher Dimmick-East Union Township Police.
They returned a few minutes later. Antonelli opens the front door. And once again Officer Dimmick says she has a right to come into the home.
Antonelli is then pepper sprayed by the officers and taken into custody. In the arrest affidavit, Officer Dimmick said that Antonelli shoved the officer and he almost fell down five steps. But attorney Nahas says that just did not happen, and the body cam video is proof that it did not happen.
But the body cam video was not presented as evidence at the preliminary hearing where a judge ruled to send Antonelli to trial on numerous charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
“At no point did Mr. Antonelli shove this officer and he stumbled backward and almost fell over five sets of steps. That is not only inaccurate it is a lie,” added Attorney Joseph Nahas, who represents Antonelli.
Antonelli’s father, Dennis, who owns the home says his son has been sitting in jail for more than a month for no reason.
“Well, I just can’t believe something like this can happen in America. I mean you have rights they had no reason to go into that house the way they did,” said Dennis.
Attorney Nahas is asking the Schuylkill District Attorney Michael O’Pake to drop the charges and also requesting the D.A. to refer the case to the state attorney general’s office to investigate the actions of the officers that night.
I reached out to the east union township police for comment. They referred me to the Schuylkill County district attorney’s office for comment. The D.A. Mike O’Pake tells the I-Team that he reviews all cases before they go to trial. But could not comment on active cases. More to come in the days ahead.
The I-Team will stay on it. You read the Criminal Complaint Affidavit below.