Investigators say plain-clothes officers from the Northeast Narcotics Field Unit had been tracking Dennis throughout a Philly neighborhood when they boxed him in and approached his car to serve a warrant. One officer was then allegedly struck with the car in the knee and hip, while another officer subsequently fired three rounds into the car, killing Dennis. Only one officer sustained injuries, but all are expected to be fine.
Officer Richard Nicoletti gunned down Dennis on Aug. 20. The officers were reportedly executing a search warrant at Dennis’ home for suspected narcotics violations.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday that Nicoletti would not be charged for Dennis’ murder.
“My Office conducted a thorough four-month review of this case, interviewing witnesses, examining video footage, and analyzing all available evidence,” Shapiro said Tuesday. “We applied the facts to Pennsylvania law, and accordingly, no criminal charges against Richard Nicoletti will be filed by my Office.”
On Tuesday, a video of the incident was released.
“I know the outcome of this case is frustrating to some, and I understand the very real mistrust that exists between our communities and law enforcement. I swore an oath to assess the findings of every investigation and apply them to the law, which is what the Office of the Attorney General has done in this case and does in every case.
“We must do better as law enforcement, as leaders, as people to rebuild that trust. Pennsylvanians’ safety depends on it, and I am committed to making our Commonwealth safer for every citizen.”
Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the estate of Dennis, said earlier this year that Dennis was, in fact, unarmed and no weapon was found in his car. Also, that at least one of the unmarked police cars had been heading down the street from the wrong direction and not one witness has come forward to attest that any of the officers actually identified themselves when confronting Dennis.
“He was essentially killed for failing to comply to their demands at a time when it wasn’t even clear that he knew they were police,” said Merritt in an interview with theGrio.
The warrant was being served in the 7100 block of Cottage Street area when officers noticed the suspect circling the area in a black Toyota Camry, according to reports. Police say that they recovered drugs, money and a gun from Dennis’ home, but Merritt asserts legally, that has no bearing on the use of force used to kill Dennis in this case.
After the spasm of gun violence erupted, many residents expressed reservations about remaining in that neighborhood, while those who knew Dennis, visibly mourned his death.
“Somebody lost their life and that’s a very serious situation,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said earlier this year after the incident. “We value all life and preach the sanctity of life in our policies and our procedures.”