New York Man Arrested After Allegedly Biting Police Officer Breaking Up Wedding Brawl
Trouble at a Wedding Reception in St. James Leads to Violence
On Monday night, Suffolk County Police officers responded to reports of a fight that broke out at the Flowerfield wedding venue in St. James, New York. According to Chief of Patrol Gerard Hardy, an uninvited guest showed up to the wedding reception and caused a disturbance, triggering a large brawl between multiple individuals.
Officer Bitten While Attempting to Restrain Suspect
As police worked to break up the fight and restore order, one officer was attacked while trying to restrain one of the combative individuals. Court documents state that Justize Murphy allegedly bit the officer on the forearm, causing “immediate pain and redness”. Murphy, 25, is reported to be the brother of the bride whose wedding reception was taking place.
Suspect Maintains Innocence, Faces Serious Charges
Murphy has been charged with assault in the second degree for the alleged biting of the officer. His attorney, George Duncan, stated that Murphy maintains his innocence. “My client has never been arrested before, has no prior contact with the criminal justice system whatsoever, has never so much as gotten a speeding ticket,” Duncan said, emphasizing Murphy’s clean criminal record.
If convicted, Murphy faces up to 7 years in prison for the felony assault charge. A second individual was also arrested and charged with harassment and obstructing governmental administration for allegedly shoving an officer while they worked to disperse the large fight.
Social Media Reaction to Violent Wedding Brawl
The incident gained attention on social media, with many expressing shock over violence erupting at a wedding. One Twitter user stated “Can’t even have a peaceful wedding these days without things getting out of hand. So unfortunate this had to happen.”
A Facebook post about the brawl received hundreds of shares and comments. One commenter wrote “You have one job as a guest – don’t ruin the wedding! Some people just don’t know how to act.”
Still from surveillance footage showing guests fighting at another unrelated wedding reception in 2019. Fights and disturbances at weddings have become a recurring issue.
Recurring Issue of Fights and Disturbances at Weddings
Unruly and violent behavior by wedding guests resulting in fights or other disturbances does seem to be a recurring issue according to wedding professionals and venue owners. Another incident in 2019 saw multiple guests throw punches and knock over tables at a New Jersey wedding reception after a dispute broke out.
Wedding planner Amanda Lentz stated in an interview “Unfortunately we do see uninvited guests or drama between attendees cause issues more often than people think. Alcohol is usually a factor too. Most couples just want their special day to go smoothly so it’s sad when it’s spoiled by others.”
Venues have started taking additional security precautions like hiring off-duty police officers and conducting bag checks to help prevent fights or weapons from making their way inside events. But incidents still find a way to occur on what are supposed to be joyous celebrations. The St. James brawl is just the latest example reinforcing such unwelcome trends at wedding events.
Suffolk County Police continue to investigate the circumstances leading to the large fight and what exactly transpired during it. Any additional arrests are possible as they work to piece together events based on evidence and witness testimony. Murphy awaits his next court appearance as his attorney maintains his claim of innocence against the serious felony charge. This remains an ongoing case with more details still to emerge about what sparked the violence at this Long Island wedding reception.