Town, 4 officers sued over stripper melee

Plaintiff calls his arrest concocted

By Brock Parker
Globe Correspondent / April 21, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

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 US District Court Monday against the town and four officers he says 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 contends that the town failed to train the officers properly and to take disciplinary action against them after they used 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 events of March 28, 2010, when Sonia says the officers — Daniel Avila, Brendan Kelliher, David Hill, and Yu Kajita — called Shamrock Entertainment in Lynn to request a stripper.

Sonia accompanied the woman, Theresa Soundis, to a Beacon Street apartment at about 4:30 a.m., but the four officers said the bachelor had left the party, and they canceled the entertainment.

Sonia says that after he and Soundis left the apartment and were attempting to drive away from the 1700 block of Beacon Street, the officers attacked him.

The officers said that Sonia had struck Hill first.

Sonia suffered a broken eye socket and broken ribs.

The Brookline Police Department placed the four officers on paid administrative leave. Police in April 2010 charged Avila and Kelliher with assault. At the same time, Sonia was charged with assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime, and Soundis was charged with operating to endanger.

At the request of all parties involved, Judge Robert Calagione in Dedham District Court dropped all of the charges in June.

John Saliba, an attorney serving as cocounsel in the case, said Sonia agreed to the charges being dismissed because he wanted to put the criminal case behind him. Saliba said Sonia filed the lawsuit in an effort to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for physical and emotional suffering.

Court records show Sonia is seeking $1 million. but Tumposky said the amount was listed as a formality, and it will be up to a jury to decide the amount of any award.

In the lawsuit, Sonia contends that the four officers and other unidentified officers conspired to “concoct a story which would result in [Sonia’s] arrest and their own exoneration.’’

Sonia alleges that the four officers lied to police investigators and that the police who were investigating were aware that the four men had lied.

Police officials said they learned of the suit only yesterday and referred questions to the town counsel’s office, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Tom Drechsler, a lawyer who represented the four officers involved in the case, said that they continue to deny having committed any wrongful acts.

Drechsler said the officers are victims of the wrongful acts of Sonia.

Brock Parker can be reached at