Judge to rule on Phila. cop who punched woman on video

February 12, 2013 2:42:43 PM PST
There were dramatic moments in court Tuesday morning as a former Philadelphia Police lieutenant went on trial for assault.

Then-Lieutenant Jonathan Josey stands accused of striking 39-year-old Aida Guzman in the face at 5th and Lehigh in North Philadelphia after the Puerto Rican Day Parade back on September 30th.

The incident was captured on video and posted on the internet, leading to a firestorm of protest from community and political leaders, who said Josey used excessive force.

Within days, Josey was dismissed from the force. He is charged with simple assault, a second degree misdemeanor.

"I hope he is convicted of simple assault," said D.A. Seth Williams after the trial ended Tuesday. "I did not think his actions were justified. I did not think he was defending himself or others."

On the witness stand, Josey was near tears while telling the judge he swung at Guzman to knock a beer bottle out of her hand, and he wasn't trying to hurt her. He said he and other officers were hit with beer from behind and, each time he turned to see who did it, he saw Guzman jumping up and down.

Josey conceded he never saw Guzman throw beer.

"As a result of her not putting the beer down, his actions were to try and knock the beer out of her hand. Unfortunately, she was knocked her to the ground," said his lawyer, Fortunato Peri, Jr.

Guzman was arrested that day but charges against her were later dropped.

One officer who testified said he saw Guzman throw beer at police, who were dealing with a wreckless driver.

On the stand, Guzman admitted to spraying "silly string" at police, but denied throwing beer.

"I have a lot of comments now from things I witnessed today and things I heard, but I don't want to accused of trying to influence the court while the judge is actively deliberating," said Guzman's lawyer, Enrique Latoison.

Fellow officers packed the courtroom Tuesday to support Josey.

Judge Patrick Dugan's verdict in the non-jury trial will be announced on February 26th.