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I-Team: Family says they will take legal action after alleged use of excessive force during arrest in Hazle Township


HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County family is taking legal action against members of law enforcement for their alleged use of excessive force while serving an arrest warrant.

28/22 Eyewitness News I-Team reporter Andy Mehalshick first reported the incident on Wednesday and has the latest developments in the case.

The McCoy family from the Hazleton area says members of the United States Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force were very aggressive. Too aggressive and used excessive force. They insist their civil rights were violated.

Video was taken by Shaniece McCoy as the drama unfolded Monday at their home near Hazleton.

Members of the United States Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force came to the home looking for Isaiah McCoy, who was wanted on outstanding felony charges.

McCoy’s spouse, Shanel McCoy was handcuffed during the operation and eventually appears to be thrown to the floor by one of the officers. Attorney Barry Dyller represents the McCoy family.

“She was handcuffed. There was no danger to law enforcement. She was not doing anything. So it becomes very apparent that this was unacceptable use of force in violation of the United States Constitution,” Dyller said.

Dyller says Shanell McCoy posed no threat to the officers.

“I want the officer, apparently a deputy U.S. Marshal, disciplined and want compensation for the McCoy family. And incidentally all she was asking is don’t arrest my husband in the presence of my young children,” Dyller said.

The I-Team showed the video to attorney Tom Marsilio, a former federal, state, and county prosecutor. Marsilio says that officers can use the force necessary to secure a scene.

“Officers in effect an arrest, serving a warrant, are allowed to use reasonable force in effectuating that arrest or serving that warrant. Reasonable force is that force, only reasonable under the circumstances to prevent resistance,” Marsilio said.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service issued a statement to Eyewitness News about the incident:

“The Marshals Service is aware of that the family has retained counsel pertaining to the arrest of Mr.  McCoy.  While the Marshals Service and our fugitive taskforce partners respect the rights of all individuals, it’s important for everyone’s safety to always comply with commands during an encounter with law enforcement.”

Tony Nelson, United States Marshals Service

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