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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Philadelphia Cop Jonathan Josey Sucker-Punches Aida Guzmani: "To Serve and Protect?"

     On Sunday, September 30, 2012, Philadelphia police were out in force to provide security for the city's annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. A group of officers, just off the parade route, were putting a man into handcuffs when someone nearby threw water or something like silly string on them. Lieutenant Jonathan Josey, in reaction to this harmless act, grabbed 39-year-old Aida Guzmani whose back was to him. Josey turned her around, punched her in the face, and then hit her in the back of the head. The mother of three collapsed to the ground with blood running out of her nose and mouth. Other officers slapped handcuffs on the stunned Guzmani, lifted her to her feet, and hauled the bloodied woman off. She was charged with disorderly conduct.

     A witness to officer Josey's assault recorded the event on her cellphone, then posted he 94-second video on YouTube where, over the next couple of weeks, it was seen by millions of viewers. It's hard to imagine anyone who has watched the video concluding the officer Josey's actions were justified. The Philadelphia Highway Patrol Lieutenant's attack on Guzmani seemed unprovoked, and entirely uncalled for.

     The day after officer Josey decked Aida Guzmani, he was placed on "restricted status," meaning assigned to a desk until internal affairs officers completed their investigation. But as more and more online viewers witnessed this egregious overreaction, the Philadelphia's police commissioner and the mayor came under increasing pressure to act more aggressively against this officer. A week or so after the incident, the police commissioner suspended Lieutenant Josey "with the intent to dismiss." The department also dropped the disorderly conduct charges against the women he slugged.

     In response to growing public outrage of Lieutenant Josey's gratuitous brutality, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in publicly apologizing for this officer's indefensible behavior, used the words "appalled," "sickened," and "ashamed." This apology did not sit well with members of the Philadelphia Police Department. (Cops never apologize, and don't look kindly on people who do it for them.)

     So, who is this female-punching, 19-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department? In 2006, Josey, pursuant to some puerile contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Daily News, nominated himself as the city's sexiest man. In support of his quest for the title, the cop submitted a photograph of himself in a pair of red shorts, a shot that featured his pierced nipple. According to Josey's sexiest man resume, the officer described his most outstanding character traits as charm, and a "magnetic personality." (Really.) This charming and magnetic law enforcement hunk wanted to make it known that he was in search of a "sexy, sexy, sexy" woman. How ironic.

     In 2007, the city settled a lawsuit against officer Josey brought by a man who claimed the officer had inappropriately kicked, punched, and threw him against a wall. In March 2010, Josey shot and killed a man who was robbing a 7-Eleven store. The department cleared him of this shooting, and no criminal charges were filed. During his career, Officer Josey has been the subject of 13 complains for both verbal and physical abuse. (Who knows, in the Philadelphia Police Department, this may be a good record.)

     Shortly after the police commissioner announced Lieutenant Josey's dismissal, John McNesby, the president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), announced that the organization would be holding a fund-raiser for their fellow union member. The proceeds would go for Josey's living expenses.

     FOP President McNesby, said this to a reporter: "It was inappropriate for the city to apologize to this woman [he couldn't bring himself to utter her name] and drop the charges until the [internal affairs] investigation was completed." (Perhaps the FOP could have held-off the fund-raiser until the facts were in.
     Police officers have become increasingly thin-skinned and militant. They don't like outside interference and criticism by people they think have no idea what it's like to enforce the law. Police officers also hate civilian cellphone cameras. Had the Josey-Guzmani incident not been caught on video, one of Philadelphia's most sexy men would still be in uniform.        

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