SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Did police cross the line when they arrested a man inside his Schuylkill County home earlier this year? That man says yes, they did, but a judge isn’t so sure.
The I-Team has been investigating the circumstances surrounding the arrest of 43-year-old Dennis Antonelli from Sheppton.
Antonelli insists that the police violated his civil rights and he says the evidence is clear from police body camera video, but a Schuylkill County judge says “not so fast.”
We must warn you, the video is intense and may be disturbing to some of our viewers.
Police body cam video was taken on the night of May 13 at the home of Dennis Antonelli near Sheppton.
East Union Township Police Officer Christopher Dimmick, assisted by a Shenandoah Police Officer, went to the home to escort Antonelli’s live-in girlfriend to retrieve her personal belongings. The couple argued earlier that day and she left the home.
Antonelli first asked the officers if they had a warrant to enter their home, they said no, they did not, and that he was not in any trouble. He told them he owned the home and he did not want her to enter the home.
He closed the front door and shut off the front porch light.
In that video, Officer Dimmick could be heard commenting he wanted to “hook him up,” meaning he wanted to arrest him.
He also used some obscenity to describe Antonelli. A few minutes later, the officers returned and the encounter ensued.
Officer Dimmick claims Antonelli shoved him, and he nearly fell from the front porch, but Antonelli’s attorney insists the body camera does not show any aggressive behavior from his client.
“I think it’s clear that the body of the officer did not move out of that doorway,” Attorney Joe Nahas, representing Dennis Antonelli.
Nahas argues that the body cam video shows that Antonelli was not being hostile to police.
“I mean it’s clear that the officer stated while he was there to Mr. Antonelli, we are here for what? We are here to get some of her belongings. Can you help us out, man? You’re not in any trouble, and say this several times. Then, that changed after the encounter,” said Attorney Nahas.
But Schuylkill County Judge James Goodman handed down an eight-page ruling that denied Nahas’s petition to have the charges dropped.
“The defendant contends that it is clear from the body camera footage that at no time did the defendant shove officer dimmick, however, it is unclear from the body camera footage whether the defendant pushed officer dimmick. However, we have the testimony of two police officers that the defendant pushed Officer Dimmick.Schuylkill County Judge James Goodman
You can read the full court ruling in the file attached below:
Judge Goodman says all charges filed against Nahas for the incident will stand and be sent for trial. They include aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
Nahas told the I-Team has contacted the FBI to look into the arrest.
The Schuylkill County District Attorney Mike O’Pake tells the I-Team he is pleased with the ruling and his office will move forward to trial.
We also reached out to the East Union Township police and the FBI for comment, but we have not heard back.