Groom’s Brother Charged with Assault in Philly Wedding Day Brawl
(PHILADELPHIA) — Philadelphia police have charged one man in connection with the wedding brawl at a Society Hill hotel in which the bride’s uncle died of a heart attack.
Matthew Sofka, the brother of one of the grooms, was released from jail Monday after he was charged with assaulting a police officer, reckless endangerment and inciting a riot for his alleged role in the fight. Sofka, 26, was reportedly Tasered by an officer during the early Sunday morning riot between at least two wedding parties at the Sheraton Society Hill.
Vince Sannuti, 57, reportedly died of a heart attack after he left the hotel during the brawl. Sannuti was found outside the hotel unconscious. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.
Sannuti was the uncle of one of the brides, Nicole Sannuti. She was seen leaving the hotel in tears while still wearing her wedding dress.
Friends of the Sannuti family told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV that the wedding reception had been held elsewhere, but guests were staying at the Sheraton Society Hill. That’s where they crossed paths with another wedding party taking place at the hotel earlier on Saturday night.
Police said the fight — fueled by alcohol and rising tempers — took over the bar and lobby.
The entire melee was captured on video and posted on YouTube by hotel guest Max Schultz, who was awakened by the ruckus. The video has gone viral, receiving more than 600,000 views.
In the video, an officer can be seen trying to hold back one of the brides while a man in a tuxedo was thrown to the floor.
Schultz, who was in town celebrating his 15th birthday with his family, can be overhead in the video asking, “Did they just deck the bride?”
Meanwhile, wedding guests have fired back at the police response and their use of force, deploying batons and Tasers, to control the massive brawl.
Sannuti’s friend, Kristin Pettito, tweeted on Monday, “@PhillyPolice your actions at Sat night’s hotel fight were despicable. Never in my life have I seen such an abuse of power. Shame on you.”
The Philadelphia Police Department said such force was necessary to control the crowd because alcohol played a role in the fight.
Schultz’s video is now evidence, and police continue to review it to determine if additional people will face charges for their actions. Two other people were cited for disorderly conduct.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio