Local police chief’s daughter among those charged in gay couple’s beating

Katherine Knott

Katherine Knott WPVI-TV

Updated: 1:15 p.m. EDT

PHILADELPHIA — The daughter of a suburban Philadelphia police chief is among the three individuals who have turned themselves in to police to face charges in the beating of a gay couple during a late-night encounter on a city street earlier this month.

Katherine KnottWPVI-TV

Kathryn Knott

From left: Philip Williams, Kathryn Knott and Kevin Harrigan.Booking photos

From left: Philip Williams, Kathryn Knott and Kevin Harrigan.
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Police say Philip Williams, 24, Kathryn Knott, 24, and Kevin Harrigan, 26, surrendered Wednesday morning. Local media reports that Knott is the daughter of Chalfont, Pa., Police Chief Karl Knott.

Prosecutors said they were being charged with criminal conspiracy and two counts each of aggravated and simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

Williams’ attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. told reporters Wednesday that the case was not related to anyone’s sexual orientation, but was instead a “mutual confrontation” in which his client “was not the aggressor.”

Knott’s attorney Louis Busico has also denied that the dispute was motivated by anti-gay bias and said his client neither threw any punches nor hurled any insults.

“She played no role in this other than going out to dinner with friends the night this happened,” Busico said outside Central Detectives on Wednesday. “We don’t deny that there was a gentleman who was assaulted. We don’t deny that this gentleman was injured. But I unequivocally deny that my client did anything to hurt this man; she wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

Harrigan’s lawyer says his client’s role was small and he will be pleading not guilty.

The victims told police that the group hurled gay slurs and beat them when the two parties passed on the street on Sept. 11. One man suffered serious facial injuries, including an orbital fracture, and had his jaw wired.

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The case gained attention after police posted a video of the suspects and online sleuths used social media sites to help identify them.

District Attorney Seth Williams said Tuesday in announcing the charges that the case “shocked the entire country.”

“An assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia,” he said in a statement.

Pennsylvania‘s hate-crimes law does not cover crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, along with openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia and others, have said the case illustrates the need for a change in the law.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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