On September 30th of last year, a Philadelphia cop named Jonathan Josey punched a woman named Aida Guzman. The punch was caught on video:
Josey was fired from his job following the incident and the Mayor apologized to Guzman, but the ex-police officer was acquitted on Tuesday of any wrong doing.
The incident happened after last year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. Dugan testified that the scene was chaotic with people drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and throwing bottles at officers’ feet. The police were reportedly trying to stop a man from driving in erratic circles.
Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan ruled not guilty on the grounds that the incident was videoed and was “sensationalized” by the media. He claimed that the 10-second clip did not capture the incident in its entirety.
Josey claimed that he was knocking a beer bottle out of Guzman’s hand and was surprised that he punched her, causing her mouth to bleed. From the Philadelphia Daily News:
“This is not a social-media contest; this is not a trial by video,” a stern-faced Dugan said, drawing grunts of approval from many of the uniformed cops looking on.
“This was a violent, fast-paced, real-life situation,” he said, that could not be rewound and played again and again like the video.
The Mayor, Michael Nutter, who had apologized to Guzman on behalf of the city said,
“I’ve watched that video easily 20-some-odd times, and it is beyond my comprehension as to how that’s not at least an assault, simple assault,” Nutter said. “It is disturbing, it is certainly disappointing, and I don’t understand it.”
Josey and his former fellow police officers are celebrating. They are hoping that Josey will get his job back, but Guzman and the Puerto Rican community are not quitting.
Guzman’s attorney said that he plans on taking the case to the U.S. Department of Justice, where he will ask that they file civil rights charges on the ex-cop.
The Puerto Rican community was equally offended, calling the ruling disrespectful to Guzman, to woman and to the Puerto Rican community.
“The officer didn’t need a lawyer. The judge was his lawyer,” said Oscar Rosario, of the group Puerto Rico, The 51st State.
Since cell phone video cameras have become the norm, so has filming police brutality. Last year, a California man was arrested and convicted of two misdemeanors for videotaping police.
In May of last year, a Federal Appeals Court ruled that it is a First Amendment right to videotape police. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, which means that the lower court ruling stands.
|Wendy Gittleson grew up in a political family. Her passion is for social justice and fairness. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. She lives in a union household. In her rare downtime, you’ll find her hiking or exploring the shoreline with her dogs. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson|