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Trial Ordered For 2 Men in Society Hill Wedding Brawl with Police

(Brian Lanza.  Photo provided)

(Brian Lanza. Photo provided)

Hanson_Tony--NEW Tony Hanson
Tony Hanson has spent his entire illustrious career at KYW Newsradio,...
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By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two men have been ordered to stand trial on charges they attacked police responding to a wedding party melée at a Society Hill hotel last October.

Part of the chaos was caught on video and went viral (see related story and video).

Responding police tried to clear the bar and lobby area of the Society Hill Sheraton, near 2nd and Walnut Streets, but officers say the crowd turned on them.

Prosecutor Laurie Moore says sergeant Sean Dandridge was kicked by defendant Brian Lanza, and in a separate incident the sergeant was attacked by defendant Matthew Sofka.

“Sofka comes up, makes contact with closed fist to Sergeant Dandrige’s head,” Moore describes to KYW Newsradio.

Officer Ruth Colon tried to assist the sergeant but, she has testified, she was thrown against a wall by an unidentified person.

“When she gets knocked down, (she) comes back up and then she sees Sofka at that point kicking Sgt. Dandridge in the head, again,” Moore notes.

But the defense has challenged the police testimony, citing inconsistencies and suggesting that police identifications are mistaken.  The defense attorneys say their clients maintain their innocence.

Dandridge is still off duty, suffering symptoms from a concussion.

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