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Commonwealth v. Rahman

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 24, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
WALI RAHMAN, Appellant

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence October 13, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-51-CR-0008612-2009

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., WECHT, J., and COLVILLE, J.[*]

OPINION

STEVENS, P.J.

This is an appeal from the judgment of sentence entered by the Court of Common Pleas after Appellant Wali Rahman was convicted of aggravated assault, [1] simple assault, [2] recklessly endangering another person (REAP), [3]resisting arrest, [4] and disorderly conduct.[5] Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and claims the trial court erred in consolidating his trial with that of his co-defendant Moses Franklin.[6] We affirm.

On March 19, 2009, Philadelphia City Council convened at City Hall for their weekly meeting. Sergeant Pedro Rosario, Chief Sergeant-at-Arms, was on duty at the Council meeting when he heard a commotion going on in the balcony that overlooks the Council chambers. When Sergeant Rosario reached the balcony, he encountered Appellant, co-defendant Franklin, and several other individuals, who were yelling so loud that they disrupted the Council meeting. Sergeant Rosario observed the President of the Council stop the meeting by banging his gavel in an attempt to bring order among the noisy crowd. At every entrance of the balcony, there were notices posted that informed citizens of behavior deemed inappropriate for City Council meetings. For the benefit of other spectators, attendees at City Council meetings may not stand up and hold signs.

When Sergeant Rosario approached Appellant and Franklin, he asked them to quiet down to allow the meeting to continue and informed the men that they would be escorted out of the building if they continued to disrupt the meeting. Appellant, Franklin, and their group of friends ignored Sergeant Rosario's requests and Appellant encouraged the crowd to stand up and make more noise. Sergeant Rosario indicated that he was concerned because the crowd was standing very close to the balcony's glass divide, where the public is not allowed to stand for safety reasons.

Sergeant Rosario directed Sergeant Derek Grant, a civil affairs police officer, to help him control the crowd on the balcony. After Sergeant Grant identified himself as a police officer and asked Appellant to leave the balcony several times, Sergeant Grant took the sign that Appellant was holding. In response, Appellant shoved Sergeant Grant with both hands, pushing him back several feet. Appellant then threw several punches at Sergeant Grant and continued to swing at the other officers. With the assistance of other officers, Sergeant Grant was able to place Appellant under arrest. As a result of his struggle with Appellant, Sergeant Grant sustained injuries to his left rib and his right shoulder, which required him to be out of work for approximately two months.

Appellant was charged in connection with this incident and proceeded to a bench trial which was held on August 24, 2010. The trial court convicted Appellant of aggravated assault, simple assault, REAP, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. On October 13, 2010, the trial court sentenced Appellant to two years probation. Appellant filed a timely post-sentence motion, which was denied by operation of law on February 28, 2012. This timely appeal followed.

Appellant raises the following issues for our review on appeal:
1. In regard to the Aggravated Assault conviction, was there insufficient evidence as a matter of law concerning the mens rea required for the causing of "bodily injury"?
2. In regard to the Simple Assault conviction, was there insufficient evidence as a matter of law concerning the mens rea required for the causing of "bodily injury"?
3. In regard to the Recklessly Endangering Another Person conviction, was there insufficient evidence as a matter of law because Appellant did not initiate or escalate the physical altercation?
4. In regard to the Disorderly Conduct conviction, was there insufficient evidence as a matter of law that Appellant had the specific "intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm" or that he "recklessly created a risk thereof?
5. In regard to the Resisting Arrest conviction, was there insufficient evidence as a matter of law that the underlying arrest or ...

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