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Man faces charges over heated Hanson meeting

A Hanson resident who allegedly threatened a town official and flipped over a table during a heated public meeting is facing criminal charges.

Steven Cappellini, 59, is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 5 in Plymouth District Court on charges of disturbing a public assembly, assault and battery on a public official, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, according to the Plymouth District Court clerk’s office.

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Cappellini was in the audience at a Nov. 9 Board of Health meeting that turned from raucous to ugly after the board voted 2-1 to seek legal advice about potentially taking legal action against the town administrator. Board chairman Tom Constantine said later that some members had been unhappy because town administrator Rene Read was “insinuating himself” into board business.

Constantine said Cappellini yelled at him and threatened him during the meeting.

“As soon as we had our vote, it erupted into a madhouse, a melee,” Constantine said Thursday. “A bunch of people got up from their seats, and the next thing we know, people are advancing on us.”

Cappellini did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

A video obtained by WCVB-TV shows a man approaching the town officials and flipping over a table where they were sitting. Constantine said the table struck him and other members who were seated there.

“Things all happened in a blur,” he said. “As soon as it happened, they all split. . . . They weren’t diving out of windows, but they were trying to get out of there as fast as they could.”

Board member Richard Edgehille likened the scene to a riot.

Police said they received a 911 call from a Hanson Town Hall employee around 11:13 a.m. reporting a disturbance in the meeting room where “a few citizens were out of control.”

On the same day the town’s health agent, Matt Tanis, had submitted his resignation, effective Nov. 23. (Asked Thursday why he resigned, Tanis declined to answer.)

Police said no arrests were made at the scene, but interim Hanson Police Chief Arthur Parker confirmed that criminal charges were being pursued.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.
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