Wedding brawl suspect speaks out
SOCIETY HILL - October 11, 2012 (WPVI) -- The attorney for the man charged in connection with the wedding brawl at a Society Hill hotel says his client had nothing to do with starting the fight.
Video of the brawl shows Matthew Sofka, brother of the groom and son of a former police officer, repeatedly hit with a police baton and then tased before being arrested and thrown in jail.
Sofka was ultimately charged with Assault, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Riot. Police say he was charged for assaulting an officer.
ABC News spoke with Sofka's attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., who says the 26-year-old had just returned to the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel after attending his brother's wedding. When he and his family got to the hotel, they say the fight between guests from a separate wedding was already going on.
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Perri says that in the chaos, Sofka's girlfriend was thrown to the ground. While trying to reach her, Sofka was then approached from behind by a police officer. Not knowing it was an officer, Perri explains, Sofka then allegedly extended his arms in self defense.
Perri goes on to say that Sofka was then struck by a baton by one officer and then put in a choke hold by another before being tased.
However, according to the police complaint, Sofka "knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly caused/attempted to cause bodily injury to a police sergeant." The complaint goes on to claim that Sofka and three others punched and kicked the sergeant in the head and body.
The Police Department tells Action News that after top police brass, including Commissioner Charles Ramsey, watched the video they concluded that appropriate force was used to get things under control.
ABC News says they reached out to police for additional comment, but have not heard back.
Information provided by ABC News.
philadelphia, society hill, weddings, fight, local/state
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