Employee terminated from Wagner dollar store charged with assault on officers, spitting on hospital staff

The suspect allegedly broke a partition in an officer's car, which resulted in two separate cuts to his head.

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WAGNER, S.D. — A man is in jail after he allegedly assaulted an officer in an altercation that ensued after he was reportedly refusing to leave his workplace after being fired.

Jonathan Dipaola, 38, of Delmont, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, four counts of intentionally causing contact with bodily fluids, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, intentional damage to property and refusing to leave property after notice.

On April 21, police in Wagner were called to Family Dollar for a report that Dipaola had been fired from the business but was back at the store and “shouldn’t be there.”

Minutes later, police received another call and could hear individuals arguing in the background. After the second caller hung up, authorities called back and could hear continued arguing and what sounded like objects being thrown around.

As the arresting officer arrived, a second officer was on scene was speaking with a witness. The arresting officer located Dipaola in the parking lot.


An arrest affidavit says when police spoke with Dipaola, they could “instantly” smell an alcoholic odor on Dipaola as he slurred his words.

Dipaola allegedly told police it was his last day as an employee at Family Dollar. He claimed another employee had reported him for “talking s—” and telling customers to steal from the store since he didn’t care about his job anymore. Though he said it was just a joke, he had recently been informed of his termination.

“After speaking with [Dipaola], he started to yell at [the witness] and told me to arrest him (Dipaola) since that’s what we are going to do because we don’t care about his situation,” an officer wrote of his interaction with Dipaola in court documents.

Authorities detained Dipaola in a squad car — though they informed him he was not under arrest — and went into Family Dollar to speak with other witnesses.

As police returned to their squad car, they claim Dipaola had broken the side of the squad car’s partition as well as a back camera that was recording him while he was detained. Officers placed Dipaola under arrest for disorderly conduct, refusing to leave property after notice and intentional damage to property.

After placing Dipaola in handcuffs — despite his alleged resistance — officers placed him back into the squad car, but he hit his head on the broken partition, causing a laceration across his forehead that authorities deemed in need of medical attention. He allegedly kicked one of the officers before being secured in the back seat.

When Dipaola arrived at a hospital for treatment of his laceration, he allegedly began spitting at two officers and two nurses who were providing medical attention, adding that he is positive for hepatitis. The nurses eventually closed the laceration.

As Dipaola was en route to the Charles Mix County Jail, he again hit his head on the broken partition, causing officers to turn around and return to the hospital. Court documents say he began attempting to kick officers and hospital staff again, and was placed into restraints while nurses tended to his second wound. A sedation shot was used to calm Dipaola.


More staples were placed into Dipaola’s head and he was booked into jail.

Though an initial appearance was canceled on April 26, Dipaola is set to appear in a Charles Mix County courtroom for an arraignment on May 9.

If convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to serve up to 32 years and one month in prison, plus be ordered to pay up to $64,500 in fines.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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