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Stripper's chaperone files suit over melee with Brookline police officers

Posted by Brock Parker  April 20, 2011 12:56 PM

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A stripper’s chaperone has filed a suit against the town of Brookline seeking damages over a melee with off-duty police officers at a bachelor party last year.

Robert Sonia, of Lynn, filed the suit in U.S. District Court Monday against the town and the four police officers he claims assaulted him before conspiring to “concoct” a story that would lead to his arrest.

An attorney for the four officers said they have done nothing wrong.

Sonia's suit claims the town failed to train the officers not to participate in conspiracies to violate constitutional rights and that the town failed to take disciplinary action against the officers for using excessive force.

“This is the only avenue at this point for [Sonia] to hold the officers accountable for what they did,” said Michael Tumposky, an attorney representing Sonia.

The suit stems from an incident in the 1700 block of Beacon Street in Brookline on March 28, 2010, when Sonia claims Brooline Police Officers Daniel Avila, Brendan Kelliher, David Hill and Yu Kajita, called Shamrock Entertainment in Lynn requesting a stripper.

Sonia accompanied stripper Theresa Soundis to a Beacon Street apartment about 4:30 a.m., but the four officers said the bachelor left the party and canceled the entertainment. Sonia claims when he and Soundis left the apartment and were attempting to leave in her car, the officers attacked him. The officers claimed Sonia struck Hill first.

Sonia suffered a broken eye socket and broken ribs during the melee and Brookline Police placed the four officers on paid administrative leave. Police then charged Avila and Kelliher with assault last April. At the same time, police charged Sonia with assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime, and Soundis was charged operating to endanger.

At the request of all of the parties involved, Judge Robert Calagione agreed to drop all of the charges last June in Dedham District Court.

John Saliba, an attorney serving as co-counsel in the case, said Sonia agreed to drop the charges because he wanted to put the criminal matter behind him. But Saliba said Sonia filed the lawsuit in an effort to make himself whole for medical expenses, lost wages and physical and emotional suffering.

While court filings said Sonia is seeking $1 million, Tumposky said the amount was listed as a formality and it will be up to a jury to decide the amount of any reward.

In the suit, Sonia claims the four officers and other “unknown” officers conspired to “concoct a story which would result in [Sonia’s] arrest and their own exoneration.”

Sonia claims the four officers lied to police investigators and that the police were aware that the four men lied.

Brookline Police said they had just learned of the suit Wednesday and deferred comment to Brookline’s Town Counsel’s office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tom Drechsler, an attorney who represented the four officers involved in the case, said the officers continue to deny having committed any wrongful acts. Drechsler said the officers were victims of the wrongful acts of Sonia.

--Brock Parker

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