WEST CHESTER >> Two Delaware County men who drunkenly terrorized a Spring City gentleman’s club, insulting dancers and staff and falsely claiming to be police officers, were given probation Monday as well as a stern warning from the judge who sentenced them.
“Don’t mess up,” Common Pleas Judge Patrick Carmody said in accepting the guilty plea of defendant Jonathan T. Lashley, who authorities said had claimed it was his First Amendment right to harass the entertainers at the bar. “If you do I’ll put you in jail. This is a stupid thing that you did, that had potentially dangerous consequences.
“There is no First Amendment right in this case,” Carmody told a contrite Lashley. “You were drunk. You’ve got two years to stay out of trouble.”
Carmody sentenced Lashely to two years’ probation on charges of disorderly conduct, harassment, and impersonating a public servant. He also ordered the automobile technician not to return to the Pumphouse Tavern and Show Bar, where the incident occurred.
“This is a place you don’t want to go anymore,” Carmody said.
The judge also sentenced Lashley’s co-defendant, Stephen Hartley, to two years’ probation, after checking to see whether a worker at the Pumphouse Tavern agreed with the terms of the two sentences. Hartley, a manager for a logistics firm, struck the worker at the tavern while Lashley was being ejected from the club.
Hartley pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault, terroristic threats, and disorderly conduct.
Both men had claimed to be either Drexel Hill police officers or, in Hartley’s case, a state trooper, and mentioned having guns available to them. In fact, a loaded and cocked .380 semi-automatic handgun was found in Hartley’s BMW after police responded to the bar for the report of an assault.
Neither men are police officers. Carmody ordered both men not to possess firearms during the terms of their probation.
“I am concerned about whether you understand the repercussions,” Carmody said to the men during the proceeding. “People are going to panic in response to this kind of statement. The response if going to be potential violence. This event could have exploded.”
The pleas and sentence had been negotiated by attorneys for Hartley, 23, of Glenolden and Lashley, 25, of Prospect Park and Assistant District Attorney Andrea Cardamone.
According to Cardamone, the incident occurred on Aug. 3 around 2 a.m. at the club on Main Street in Spring City.
In a criminal complaint filed against the men, Officer James Robb said that he first responded to a report of an assault by Lashley. Standing in the parking lot of the club, Lashley told Robb he had been assaulted by a group of unknown subjects and was unable to re-enter the building. He also said someone had taken his cell phone, and that he and Hartley had been “illegally” ejected from the club.
Hartley also stated that he and Lashley had been assaulted for “no reason” and had been “singled out” by persons inside the establishment for being “city guys,” court documents state.
Robb then received a second report of two customers who had threatened the club and its employees from the manager of Pumptown Tavern, Amanda Arters. Arters told Robb the men had fought with club security. She also said that they had indicated to club employees that they owned firearms and were Drexel Hill police officers, according to court documents.
While Robb questioned the two me outside the club, he noticed they were bleeding from cuts and scrapes, but also that they were unsteady on their feet and reeked of alcohol. He said he believed they were intoxicated.
Hartley denied that he told bar staff and patrons that he was a police officer, saying, “It’s just a misunderstanding,” according to court documents.
Robb then spoke with Arters, who said the two men were verbally abusive to the entertainers and staff throughout the night and had been asked multiple times to tone down their behavior, court documents state. When asked to leave, Arters alleged the two refused, and loudly and repeatedly said they were “Drexel Hill Police” and “had guns,” court documents state.
According to police, Steven Maisonet, an on-duty security guard for the tavern, reported that he attempted to remove Lashley from Pumptown. While doing so, Hartley allegedly struck Maisonet in the face. Afterward, Maisonet said Hartley ran toward a white BMW the two men had driven to the bar in, screaming, “I got a gun,” according to court documents.
After the two patrons were kicked out, Arters put Pumptown on lockdown until police arrived to deal with Hartley and Lashley, court documents state. Hartley and Lashley left in their BMW, parking it on Main Street and returning to the parking lot on foot before police arrived, according to court documents.
The two men were arrested and their vehicle towed away. Before the vehicle was towed, a silver and black semi-automatic handgun was allegedly found in the center console while police were conducting a vehicle inventory. Robb allegedly found fresh blood on the trigger guard and muzzle, indicating that the gun was handled by Hartley or Lashley after the conflict with club security, court documents state.
The hammer was cocked in the firing position and the safety was disengaged, according to police.
Lashley was represented by attorney John Kusturiss Jr. of Media and Hartley was represented by attorney Scott Galloway.
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan, call 610-696-1544.