Here is a videotape of a (now former!) Philadephia police officer, Jonathan Josey, punching Aida Guzman after that city’s Puerto Rican Day Parade on September 30, 2012. Guzman was part of an unruly crowd that had gathered following the parade, but the videotape does not show her doing anything to Josey, who believed she had thrown beer at him. On Tuesday, Josey’s non-jury trial for simple assault ended with Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan finding Josey not guilty. Dugan said that the video was insufficient evidence:
Dugan said that the media “sensationalized” the incident, which, he added, was captured on an “infamous” 10-second video clip that did not capture the incident in its totality.
Despite being “shocked” by the video, Dugan said, he concluded that Josey had acted within reason when he took a swipe at Guzman.
Josey testified that he hadn’t intended to hit Guzman in the face, but rather to knock a beer bottle out of her hand. He said he was “surprised” that he had hit her face instead, which is perfectly understandable, because he is a huge hulking cop and she is a tiny lady, so of course he might miss when swinging at her from behind.
Judge Dugan gave Josey the benefit of the doubt because “the incident was part of a volatile, fast-paced situation – not a slow motion video.”
Following the incident in September, Josey was fired by Mayor Michael Nutter, who also apologized to Guzman and the Puerto Rican community. After Tuesday’s verdict, Nutter 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… It is disturbing, it is certainly disappointing, and I don’t understand it.”
Guzman’s attorney, Enrique Latyoisin, says he plans to ask the Justice Department to investigate whether Josey violated Guzman’s civil rights, and also plans to seek civil damages against Josey.
The Philadephia Inquirer reports that Josey hopes to be reinstated, and that the tough lady-puncher
even took to Facebook to celebrate. He posted a picture of himself striking a triumphant pose and changed his name on the page to “Jonathan ManofSteel Josey.”
It is not yet known whether Superman or DC Comics plan to sue Josey for defamation.