Philadelphia Criminal Law News

2nd Arrest for Wedding Brawl; Groom's Brother Says Cops Hit Him

We have more information on the Philadelphia wedding brawl. Now, a second man who was involved in the fight is facing felony charges.

To refresh your memory, last week we discussed a fight that took place at a wedding in Philadelphia. The fight was captured on video and posted. It showed a scene of pure chaos.

There aren’t too many details on how the fight started, but it involved people from two wedding parties.

Initially, Matthew Sofka, 26, was charged with assault on police, reports The Philadelphia Daily News. He was also charged with inciting a riot and other related offenses. Sofka is the brother of the groom.

Charges were brought against a second man this week, Brian Lanza, 29. Lanza was originally charged with disorderly conduct. Now, he has been charged with assault on police, resisting arrest, criminal conspiracy and aggravated assault.

Conspiracy? Sounds serious.

Well, it isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. In this context, conspiracy is a legal term of art. It refers to the crime of two or more people agreeing to commit an unlawful act. In order to have a conspiracy, there needs to be knowledge of the conspiracy by the participants.

According to the criminal complaint, a total of four men “punched and kicked” a police officer in the head and body.

It certainly sounds like they had knowledge that they were engaging in an illegal act.

But the brawlers are standing up against the allegations, saying that police used excessive force, reports ABC News. A video shows officers using a Taser on Matthew Sofka and hitting him with a baton.

This story won’t go away that soon. Two of the men involved in the fight have been charged with felonies. One received a summary citation. If four men were actually involved in assaulting an officer, then there may be more charges coming soon.

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