Pa. state senator says aide claims racial slur prompted brawl at golf club

The fight happened at the Shannondell Golf Pro Shop in Audubon

Annie McCormick Image
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
State senator says aide claims racial slur prompted brawl
BRAWL UPDATE: A state senator is breaking his silence over a fight that occurred at a Montco golf club involving his cousin who is also a senate aide assigned to his office.

AUDUBON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- State Senator Anthony Williams is breaking his silence over a fight that occurred at a Montgomery County golf club involving his cousin who is also a senate aide assigned to his office.

Williams told 6abc Wednesday his cousin and aide, Jonathan Williams, told him it was a racial slur that prompted Jonathan to strike golf club employee, Hunter Wagner.

The state senator said Jonathan told him the employee said, "Look I've already given you 'monkeys' the discount. I'm not going to give you a rain check. Get the 'F' out."

"My cousin said get me the "F" out and then the guy (employee) got up and came around the counter, and then things went sideways," recounted Williams of a conversation with his cousin.

Jonathan is facing criminal charges stemming from the altercation, and was served with a civil lawsuit after the November 2020 brawl.

"Of course I'm talking because I don't want people playing the victim when they're not the victim (and) they're the bully," said the longtime Democratic state senator.

SEE ALSO: Video shows aide to state Sen. Anthony Williams throwing punches in golf pro shop

An aide to a longtime state senator was caught on video throwing punches inside a golf pro shop in Montgomery County.

He added, "I can't imagine that person is steeped in hate, but they are steeped in ignorance."

6abc reported on Monday that a civil suit filed in May of 2021 and ultimately refiled in June, is asking for more than $50,000 in damages for physical and mental injuries the golf club employee - Hunter Wagner- says he sustained.

Surveillance video obtained by 6abc shows State Senator Anthony Williams, who serves parts of Philadelphia and Delaware County, walk into the golf pro shop and exchange words with the employee.

Williams and several golfers in his group were asking for a refund after complaining about the slow pace of play. Jonathan Williams then walks in and the state senator leaves.

Jonathan Williams has words with the employee, and then it appears in the video that the situation escalates to violence, with Jonathan throwing the first punch. The employee wraps his arms around his alleged attacker, and they tussle through the pro shop.

Nathan Schadler is the attorney representing Wagner who suffered a laceration on his hand that required stitches. He recounted what his client told him.

"He said they came in very upset and it only got worse. He came from behind the desk because it was getting very inappropriate and out of control and that's when he (Wagner) was accosted," Schadler said.

Schadler added that his client did not throw punches, but rather tried to defend himself by wrapping his arms around his attacker to stop him from punching him.

"He tries to bear hug, but he's repeatedly hit, repeatedly punched at least 10 times in the head. It actually spills across the pro shop, and what he's trying to do is to grab the individual and protect himself," said Schadler

The whole incident happened in under a minute, according to the attorney.

Wagner called police, and Jonathan Williams and another associate who broke up the fight stayed until police arrived and gave their statement. State Senator Williams said their entire golfing party of about eight people all stayed and waited for police to take the information.

The chief of the Lower Providence Police Department told 6abc the department did a thorough investigation and there is no record in the investigation or in the preliminary hearing that a racial slur was used.

According to a criminal complaint, Jonathan Williams told authorities: " ... Wagner denied the refund and then got into his face. Williams stated he then struck Wagner first in the face with a closed fist."

Jonathan Williams faces criminal charges including disorderly conduct, simple assault and harassment.

Williams' attorney, Josh Rudolph, told 6abc, "With respect to the video released, we do find it interesting that it has been released despite us not receiving through discovery in either matter to this point."

Schadler said this is the first they are hearing about a racial slur. Both Schadler and Wagner deny the claims. Schadler added they are now considering a defamation suit.