Criminal Justice

A personal injury lawyer in Providence, Rhode Island, was arrested on Monday for allegedly shoving and spitting on the father of a onetime colleague.

The lawyer, 59-year-old Stephen Dennis, was charged with misdemeanor assault, report the Providence Journal and WPRI.com. Dennis pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Police say Dennis encountered the father, 67-year-old Augusto Campopiano Jr., on Nov. 15 in the hallway of an office building where Dennis and Campopiano’s son have legal practices. The elder Campopiano was there to visit his son.

According to police, Dennis pulled the elder Campopiano in for a handshake, called his son an expletive word, said the son was a thief, then shoved and spit on Campopiano. Police charged Dennis after reviewing surveillance video in the building.

A lawyer for Dennis, Jeffrey Pine, told the Providence Journal that Campopiano’s son, Michael Campopiano, owes money to Dennis. Dennis denies the assault, however.

Michael Campopiano told the Providence Journal that, years ago, Dennis had asked for his help handling a backlog of personal injury cases. Michael Campopiano said that, in turn, he sent Dennis his workers’ compensation cases. But the business relationship ended, Michael Campopiano said, when he moved to a larger office.

WPRI.com obtained a partial video of the incident.