Cell phone video that appears to show a woman being struck by a police officer at the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade is getting hundreds of views on YouTube and is generating a lot of comments online.
The former Philadelphia Police veteran caught on video hitting a woman has been found not guilty of simple assault.
A bench trial was held for Jonathan Josey Tuesday morning. The not guilty verdict was handed down by Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan who claimed the video "didn't tell the whole story." The judge says that two weeks ago he heard testimony from Josey in which he said he was trying to knock of bottle from the woman's hand.
"We were confident all along that once we had the opportunity to present the facts and circumstances of the incident in a courtroom, as opposed to the court of social media, that Jonathan Josey would be vindicated," defense lawyer Fortunato Perri Jr. said.
Back in October, cell phone video was released showing the former lieutenant hitting a woman at the Festival de la Americas following the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sept. 30. The video received more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.
The incident happened near 5th and Lehigh Streets in North Philadelphia, after the parade on the Parkway. Parade organizers say they had nothing to do with the North Philadelphia event.
Officials say Aida Guzman of Chester was spraying silly string at officers involved in a traffic stop when she was hit by Josey. Her face was bleeding as officers took her away. Guzman was cited for disorderly conduct but the charge was subsequently dropped.
At a one-day, nonjury trial before Dugan earlier this month, Josey testified he thought Guzman had thrown beer on him. He said he told her to put down the bottle and then swung in an attempt to knock it from her hand. Guzman has said she didn't throw any liquid, but she did shoot aerosol string into the crowd.
She doesn't speak much English, but told NBC10 "I feel angry, very angry. I go to someplace, got a good time and look this happen, for no reason". Mayor Michael Nutter apologized to Guzman for the incident days later.
An attorney for Guzman, Enrique Latoison, said he and his client were shocked by the ruling. “She feels like she got beat on again,” Latoison said, adding that Josey's actions after hitting Guzman were not those of someone who did something by accident.
“His actions after the punch were shoving her in the back ... (and) immediately putting handcuffs on her like she's some sort of danger,” Latoison said. He said he plans to file a civil lawsuit.
District Attorney Seth Williams said he was disappointed with Tuesday's ruling.
“I respect Judge Dugan's decision but I disagree with it,” Williams said in a statement. “Let's be clear there were no winners on that day in September. While I believe Jonathan Josey was guilty of simple assault this is not the time to dwell on that and I hope as a community we can move past this.”
Josey plans to seek immediate reinstatement, his lawyer said.
Josey was a decorated supervisor with the Highway Patrol -- a 19-year veteran of the force. He was suspended and then fired after the video surfaced.
The Fraternal Order of Police told NBC10 they would defend Josey "to the end." Union president John McNesby cautioned people not to judge the incident by a small clip of video. On Oct. 28, the FOP held a five-hour, $30 per person, fundraiser for the lieutenant.
Josey made headlines before. He was exonerated in the shooting death of a Philadelphia man shortly after the man robbed a convenience store in Lower Merion in March 2010. In July 2010, Josey was stabbed in the back while trying to break up a fight outside a West Philadelphia bar.
He also was one of the Daily News' Sexy Singles in 2006.