A since-fired Philadelphia police lieutenant who was caught on cellphone video punching
a parade-goer in the face has been found not guilty of simple assault by a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge.
Jonathan Josey, who was a veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department before his firing soon after the video aired online, was found not guilty during a bench trial before Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan, court records show.
Josey had been accused of physically assaulting 40-year-old Delaware County resident Aida Guzman during a Puerto Rican pride parade in North Philadelphia this past September.
The incident was caught on video and made headlines shortly after it surfaced on the video-sharing website Youtube.
Guzman was initially charged with disorderly conduct but Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams later dropped the charge.
Josey, however, was soon dismissed from his job and facing his own assault charge in criminal court.
Following the announcement that Dugan found Josey not guilty on the simple assault charge, Williams released a statement in which the prosecutor said while he respects the judge’s decision, he strongly disagrees with it.
“Let’s be clear there were no winners on that day in September,” Williams said in his statement. “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.”
Williams went on to say that his leveling charges against Josey was designed to show that nobody is above the law, including police officers, because “justice demands that we apply our laws fairly.”
“Ultimately the final decision was in Judge Dugan’s hands and I respect his ruling,” Williams stated.
During the days-long bench trial, Josey’s attorneys had told the judge that their client never intended to strike Guzman in the face, but was instead simply attempting to knock what he thought was a beer bottle out of her hand, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Josey had said police officers were having beer thrown at the time from Guzman’s direction, the newspaper stated.
The paper quoted Josey as saying that he intended to seek reinstatement to the police department.
Prior media reports quoted John McNesby, who heads the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 in Philadelphia, as saying that the union would be appealing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s decision to fire Josey back in early October.
Guzman, who is small in stature in contrast with Josey’s hulking frame, had sued the former police lieutenant and the department in federal court back in late January over allegations of civil rights violations.
The court docket in that case shows that there has been no movement on the civil end of things since the complaint’s filing.