Police: Man 'came out of nowhere' in viral video of officer shoving man

 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown man shown being shoved to the ground by police in a viral video was found not guilty of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The jury reached the verdict after a two-day trial for John Perez.

Perez was arrested in September 2018, and a video of the incident shows an officer shoving him to the ground.

Perez said he was punched and kicked all over his body.

Police said they had been called to the scene for a report of someone with a gun, and that Perez basically picked a fight with them and escalated the situation.

The judge, Maria Dantos, lashed out at the officers involved and criticized her former employer, the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office, for prosecuting Perez.   

Dantos told the courtroom "I was ashamed of the officers and their conduct and their words and actions, and I was ashamed of the office I spent 17 years in, that they would bring this prosecution," referring to the DA's office.

The judge went on to say to the officers involved that "you escalated a situation without cause. Cops smirking on the stand at this jury" -- she said, "laughing at the defense attorney, high-fiving in the hallway after testimony as if there were something, anything, to be proud of."

In response to the judge's comments, Lehigh county District Attorney Jim Martin said in a statement given to The Morning Call that he respects the jury's verdict, but disagrees with the judge's perceptions.

Martin said his office files charges "based on probable cause."

The Allentown police chief told us he was not the chief when the incident happened in 2018, and offered no further comment.

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