2nd arrest in Society Hill wedding brawl (PHOTOS)

Brian Lanza, 29, of Westfield, New Jersey, is charged with Criminal Conspiracy, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Resisting Arrest and related offenses.
October 16, 2012 11:45:38 AM PDT
A second man has been charged in connection with a brawl involving two wedding parties at a hotel in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia.

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Police say Brian Lanza, 29, of Westfield, New Jersey, turned himself in on Monday. Investigators say Lanza was originally arrested for disorderly conduct. He received a citation and was released.

However, further investigation revealed Lanza allegedly assaulted an officer during the brawl at the Sheraton Hotel on October 7th.

Lanza is charged with Criminal Conspiracy, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Resisting Arrest and related offenses. His bail was set at $25,000.

Matthew Sofka, 26, also of Westfield, New Jersey, was previously charged in this case.

Video of the brawl shows 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.

Last week, 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.

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.


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