Caught on Camera Punch Officer Fights to Get His Job Back

The former Philadelphia Police veteran caught on video striking a woman is fighting to get his job back.

Former Lt. Jonathan Josey was fired by the Philadelphia Police Department after amateur video surfaced of him striking a woman during a Puerto Rican Day Parade post party last fall.

A bench trial was held for Josey in which a judge found him not guilty. Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan claimed the video "didn't tell the whole story." The judge said that he heard testimony from Josey in which he said he was trying to knock of bottle from the woman's hand.

Despite being found not guilty of assault, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stood by his decision to fire Josey.

He said he will explain his reasoning when called to testify at the arbitration hearing.

"Just the rationale for having dismissed him -- the video, the paperwork that was left," Ramsey said. "I'll go over everything in the process that I used to come to that decision."

Back in October, cell phone video was released showing Josey striking 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.

That not-guilty status set up the two-day arbitration hearing. Ramsey said he expects a decision on Josey's job status within 30 days.

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.

Josey should have a decent shot at reinstatement. About 90 percent of Philadelphia police officers fired for wrongdoing find their way back onto the force.

"It's not up to me to agree or disagree, it's what the city agreed to years ago," Ramsey said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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