SHAMOKIN - A preliminary hearing for a city man police claim is the leader of a local "Goon Squad" was postponed Tuesday for the second time in three weeks at the request of the arresting officer.

Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III said the hearing for Ryan Forte, 18, of 18 S. Market St., Apt. 1, Shamokin, was postponed at the request of Patrolman William Miner, who was unavailable. Attorneys in the case and Gembic's staff were not made aware of the continuance until Tuesday morning.

A continuance was granted March 4 for the same reason.

No new hearing date has been scheduled.

Forte, who remains in Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury in lieu of $100,000 cash bail, was among five people charged in connection with the Feb. 23 assault of Keith "KC" Long, 18, of Shamokin, in the 400 block of East Independence Street.

Long suffered a broken nose, a cut on his lower lip that required five stitches, four damaged teeth, broken braces and severe facial swelling that required emergency room treatment at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital and follow-up care by an orthodontist.

Forte faces felonies of aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and riot, and misdemeanors of simple assault and disorderly conduct.

Prior to the arrests, police said the Goon Squad had been involved in fights, vandalism and intimidation during the past two months in the city.