Philadelphia cop who punched woman gets job back

PHILADELPHIA - August 12, 2013

Lieutenant Jonathan Josey will be reinstated to his post on the police force and will get all the pay he is entitled to from between now and when he was fired last September.

A now-infamous video that went viral is what sparked it all. The video allegedly shows Josey slugging a woman who he thought had sprayed beer on police officers after the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey reviewed that cell phone video and fired Josey a short time later.

Josey was later acquitted in court of assault charges, and the Fraternal Order of Police appealed his dismissal to an arbitrator.

A hearing was held in June, and that arbitrator has now issued an 18-page decision in Josey's favor.

The arbitrator says a frame-by-frame review of the video supports Josey's claims.

He testified that Aida Guzman refused his order to drop a bottle of beer she was holding. He says he was trying to swat the bottle out of her hand when her left foot went out from under her as she stepped on a can. Guzman fell to the street, and the arbitrator ruled that's what caused her bloody lip, not a punch in the face.

"No that's a lie," Guzman said through an interpreter Monday. "I didn't fall on my face, that's a pure lie! I feel offended like they punched me in the face again."

Guzman and her attorney spoke to reporters outside her home in Chester, Pa. She said she is disappointed with the arbitrator's finding, and her attorney, Enrique Latoison, says it sends a terrible message to everyone else.

"This gives them free reign to continue to do what they're doing," Latoison said. "Because even when you're caught on video, you can still find a way to get away with that, and you still send a very, very scary message to all the citizens out there."

For his part, Police Commissioner Ramsey said he is disappointed with the ruling, but says he has to accept it and return Lt. Josey to the police force.

"I have no regrets about the action I took at the time this took place," said Ramsey. "The decision has been rendered, and I'll abide by it."

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez says the ruling sends a bad message.

"God forbid there's another incident," she said. "How is the community going to respond? And it really puts the officers in jeopardy, because we're trying to create these bridges, and this has been a huge setback."

Lt. Josey was unavailable for comment Monday.

His attorney, Fortunato Perri, says he worked a lifetime to get where he was, and it was all destroyed in just 3 seconds.

"We've now had 2 separate fact finders review the facts and circumstances of this case and have come to the same conclusion that Jon didn't do anything wrong that day other than do his job," said Perri.

He says Josey is now looking forward to resuming his career.

Josey could be back at work as early as Tuesday. Commissioner Ramsey says it has not been decided where he will be placed. That has yet to be worked out.

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