Video from YouTube user Gisela Valentin appears to show a police officer punching a woman after the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday.
By Jackie Gailey
Cell phone video that appears to show a woman being struck by a police officer at the Festival de la Americas following the Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade is getting hundreds of views on YouTube and is generating comments and questions about the officer’s actions.
The video shows several police officers at Sunday’s festival and a crowd of people. The woman, identified as Aida Guzman of Chester, Pa., is hit by one of the officers and falls to the ground.
Philadelphia police identified the officer as Lt. Jonathan Josey.
Philadelphia Police told NBC10 that Guzman was cited for spraying silly string at officers who were conducting a vehicle stop at North 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue.
Internal Affairs is investigating the incident, according to police. The Fraternal Order of Police says it will defend Josey “to the end.” FOP President John McNesby said the people out in the street on Sunday are from a different group than the parade-goers. He said officers don’t know what’s being thrown at them — that it’s been bleach and urine in the past. He cautioned people not to judge the incident by a small clip of video.
Lt. Josey has made headlines in the past. He was exonerated in the shooting death of a Philadelphia man shortly after the man robbed a convenience store in Lower Merion in March 2010.
In July 2010, Lt. Josey was stabbed in the back while trying to break up a fight outside a West Philadelphia bar.
Several NBC10 viewers have emailed links to the video shot on Sunday to NBC10 and have expressed concern about the incident. NBC10 investigator Harry Hairston and reporters Deanna Durante and Christine Maddela are currently working the story to find out more information about the circumstances that led to the incident and what happened to the woman after she was led away from the scene in handcuffs.
The executive director of Concilio, which puts on the parade every year, called on police to fully investigate:
While thousands of people celebrated at Concilio’s Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, an unexplainable incident was taking place at a community-run activity in North Philadelphia.
While we have no knowledge of what led to the incident, it is clear from the video that a police officer unnecessarily and brutally struck a woman in the face.
One of the reasons for Concilio’s founding 50 years ago was to combat police brutality such as the assault shown in this video. Even as we celebrate the tremendous advancements of Philadelphia’s Hispanic community over the decades, we cannot overlook this episode. We call on the Philadelphia Police Department to fully investigate and take appropriate action.