Local/State

Philadelphia cop who punched woman on video to be fired

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Philadelphia Police Commissioner could have waited for the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation, he could have waited for all the witnesses to be questioned, but instead he has decided to take a Commissioner's Direct Action against Lt. Jonathan Josey.

Less than 24 hours since Commissioner Charles Ramsey returned from a police chief's conference in San Diego and gave his initial thoughts on the viral YouTube video, he released a message stating Josey will be suspended for 30 days beginning Thursday with the intent to dismiss.

During his press conference Tuesday, Ramsey described the incident on the YouTube video as very troubling and, from what he saw in the video, the use of force applied was in excess of what was needed.

He said he knows Lt. Josey, has respect for his accomplishments in the department, and he personally likes him, but that would not impact his decision.

On Wednesday night, John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police gave his reaction to the latest developments.

"I think it stinks, it stinks. It sends a bad message to the police out there on the streets," McNesby said.

He says the ink hasn't even dried on the investigation.

McNesby says its sill unclear what happened in the moments before the infamous punch was thrown.

"This investigation wasn't even complete," McNesby said.

In addition to Ramsey's decision concerning Lt. Josey, the District Attorney's Office announced a decision of their own Wednesday afternoon.

The DA has dropped the charges against 39-year-old Aida Guzman.

Guzman was originally charged with a summary offense for disorderly conduct.

The video of the incident at 5th and Lehigh during a Puerto Rican Day Parade after-party on Sunday quickly went viral.

A number of officers had gathered at the scene for a traffic stop.

Earlier in the video, Guzman is seen spraying silly string in the air, but never striking any officer. Police contended that she threw beer at the officers.

A few seconds later someone lobs a liquid from behind Guzman at the officers, prompting the violent reaction from Lt. Josey, a 19 year veteran and highly decorated officer.

Guzman and her attorney Enrique Latoison were happy to hear the charges were dropped.

"She's never asked for this officer to be fired. She never asked for anything other than just respect and have the charges dropped," Latoison said.

"I feel so happy. Before, I got a lot of pain in my body, but I feel so happy. I want to say thank you everybody for the support," Guzman said.

Guzman's attorney, however, is hoping for an apology for the incident.

"We still expect a formal apology of some sort. It's important to the Hispanic community. It's important to my client," Latoison said.

Commissioner Ramsey previously said Lt. Josey has had 13 other complaints filed against him during the course of his career, two of those sustained.

McNesby tells Action News Lt. Josey is currently out of the state.

He says the union will take this case to arbitration and he fully expects Josey to be reinstated.

Action News spoke with Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who had asked the Commissioner for swift action. She said she was grateful for today's developments.

"It needed to be quick, it needed to be thorough, so that we can heal and begin to have a broader discussion about what happens on the day of the parade," Quinones-Sanchez said.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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