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Late yesterday, the Philadelphia Police Department announced that Jonathan Josey, the cop seen decking a woman in the face in a now-viral YouTube video, will be fired.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced Wednesday that, effective Thursday, Josey, 40, a 19-year veteran Highway Patrolman, will lose his job.

Technically, he'll be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, for his now-infamous punching of Aida Guzman, 39, during a celebration Sunday at 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue after the city's annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

"I watched the video over and over again, and I also listened to the interviews the complainant gave the media," Ramsey said. "Looking at everything, it was my sense that this was a very serious violation of department policy and that the force used was not the force necessary to effect an arrest."

He said his decision to ax Josey - who ran a violence-prevention program in his spare time and was cited by the Citizens Crime Commission of Delaware Valley for bravery in 2010 after interrupting an armed robbery and shooting the perpetrator - was difficult.

"He has served for a long time and he's done a lot of outstanding things," the commissioner said. "But this is a violation of trust and abuse of authority, and it cannot be ignored."

Ramsey made this move under his power to take "direct action" against any cop whom he feels has violated the law or departmental policy.  In looking at the video (sorry, embedding's been disabled), it's hard not to agree. By my count, Josey took six steps before punching a defenseless woman from behind.  In what world would a cop be able to do that and stay employed?

The Philadelphia DA has dropped charges of disorderly conduct against Guzman, and she also got a personal apology from Mayor Michael Nutter.  She's still weighing whether to sue.

Losing his job may be the least of Josey's problems.  Ramsey has also said that Josey may face criminal charges.  If I were the DA up there, I'd definitely prosecute.  If a regular citizen did this, it would be felonious assault.

In what can only be described as a tone-deaf stance, the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police is raising a stink over the firing.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, called Ramsey's decision to terminate Josey a "bad move."

"It's a ready-fire-aim approach. The investigation's not even complete, the ink's not even dry, and they're gonna fire him?" McNesby asked. "It sends a bad message to cops on the street: 'Be careful out there, because the city may not have your back.' "

McNesby doubled down later that day, saying that theFOP was "going to war over this one."   It's going to be a war he'll likely lose.  If Josey just turned around and swung, maybe I could see an argument that he was reacting like anyone would after being attacked from behind.  But taking six steps before punching someone?  Come on.

Let's hope the next step is indeed criminal charges for Josey.

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 03:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Police Accountability Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's the proper message: (9+ / 0-)
    "It sends a bad message to cops on the street: 'Be careful out there, because the city may not have your back.' "
    Be careful not to commit acts of senseless brutality, because if you do, the city won't have your back.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 03:43:43 PM PDT

  •  What a coward! (7+ / 0-)

    Hitting a woman who is walking away armed with a plastic water bottle.

    If she had called him a pig she would have be telling the truth.

    And then he cuffed and took her away?  For what?

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 03:44:50 PM PDT

  •  Good luck, Philly...In Portland a cop could SHOOT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, codairem, Hastur

    a woman in the face and still not get fired.  Oh...the Mayor may insist he be suspended w/o pay pending investigation, but in just about every case they get reinstated, with pay, and hold onto their jobs.  This city hasn't ever seen police misconduct that deserves termination, it seems.  Though plenty of people have gotten shot in the past 10 years.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 03:48:30 PM PDT

  •  The odds are Ramsey will reinstate the guy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    at some point.

    But it is still quite important for an unequivocal statement to be made by the city's authorities, that this cop was way out of bounds in the way the reacted and acted.

    A message is being sent.  Cops can be criminals too, even when they are on duty.

  •  This video is really shocking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, kurt

    I had not been aware of this story.  What did the woman do?  It looks like she's simply walking away.  Even if she said something offensive, how does that deserve pursuit and a violent response?

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 03:57:05 PM PDT

    •  It took place at a Puerto Rican Day parade (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Gordon20024, codairem, kurt

      Someone threw water at a group of cops gathered around a car.  Josey turned around, saw Guzman, then walked up behind her and punched her.

      Even if she had been the person who threw the liquid (she wasn't), this would have been excessive force.  Turn around and confront her--don't just haul off and punch her.

      Romney-Ryan: America's Rollback Team

      by Christian Dem in NC on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 04:01:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no that's not entirely accurate (0+ / 0-)

        someone threw water at a group of cops Josey say Guzman with a water bottle walking away he approached her and either punched her or tried to stop her (frankly the video evidence here is at best hard to see).

    •  Some reports I've seen say she had previously (0+ / 0-)

      been throwing some 'silly string', whatever that is, at some police.  The implication was that silly string was basically something inconsequential, like glitter or tinsel.

  •  I'd like to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur

    her file a big lawsuit against the city.  If she wins, I'd like to see her agree to receive only medical costs and attorney fees IF the cop is tried and found guilty of battery or whatever the offense would be listed as.  If there is an abuse of trust law on the Pennsylvania books, charge him with that, too.

  •  Here's an embeddable report with the sucker (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, Gordon20024, kurt

    punch starting at 2:20 in

  •  What race is the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    guy?

    I'm glad he got fired, but he looks AA.  I was just thinking if he was white, he would have gotten away with less severe punishment.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 04:55:13 PM PDT

  •  . (0+ / 0-)

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 05:32:06 PM PDT

  •  wow firing a decorated officer (0+ / 0-)

    for publicity and then people complain about why we have bad cops, here's a hint because the good ones get sick of stupidity like this.

    Having seen the video and watched it multiple times it still doesn't even look completely like a punch but hey it's always teh cop's fault right?

    •  ah!hahahahaha. You're hilarious. (0+ / 0-)

      Dude punches a woman in the face, leaving her bleeding on the ground. Your response: but look at his shiny medals!

      Right. We lose all the good cops because they leave the force, tired of the silly, politically correct nonsense about not being allowed to deck citizens who aren't being friendly enough.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 09:26:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  look at the video (0+ / 0-)

        it's not clear whether it was a punch or not and given that the woman was ignoring the officer, given that she moved right before the incident as if she was going to bolt which is more likely, that a highly trained, highly respected and highly decorated 17 year vetran decided to just randomly punch a civilian or he thought she was going to make a break for it and reached out to grab her?

        I'm sure that the paranoids that think cops are these jackbooted facist carictures already know the answer but then again I'm sure those same people would accuse a cop of just about anything.

        I'm curious do you know any cops? Cause I do and that actually is the compliant I hear that it's not really worth staying on when any one can launch a compliant and suddenly you've become a scape goat.

        I remember one time a guy was running from the police, had a history of violence, he resisted arrest violently enough to hurt several cops. But then he claimed police brutality and suddenly it's the officers and not the violent felon's fault.

        So no it's not hilarious and I suggest you take your blinders off.

        good gods I wished 'reality based thinking' actually applied to  police too but that might be too much to ask for

        PS bleeding on the ground? Pure utter hyperbole but please keep up the melodramics

        •  um. his fist made contact with her face, whereupon (0+ / 0-)

          she fell to the ground and began bleeding.

          Whether she was throwing water at them or spraying silly string or just being a jerk, I don't think it's right for any officer to make unnecessary physical contact. If he was simply trying to restrain her, he could have grabbed for her arm or wrist.

          If she'd escaped, oh no, another disrespectful citizen gets away without getting what's coming to them. Rectifying that situation didn't require reaching for her head, whether with a closed fist or whatever he was attempting to do by reaching up like that.

          I'm tired of all these stories of cops being held to account for the way they treat the folks they're supposed to be serving. If they don't like being scape goated, they need to start bucking the system that we all know gives too much protection to too much bad behavior. Instead, here's just one tale of what happens when one guy tries to speak up and gets knocked back down by the folks he works with.

          "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

          by 2020adam on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 10:48:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love the senselization (0+ / 0-)

            she had a cut lip which after reading multiple reports is assumed to have been caused by the officer. You make it sound like he took out his baton and beat her with it.

            Let's be clear here if an officer approaches and tells you 'police stop' you you are legally detained and required to stop moving. You of course have the right to refuse to answer the officer but of course some things (like refusing to give your name) will get you in legal trouble and others will not.

            People need to know their rights better it would make police-civilian interaction better and smoother plus well it never hurts to know them.

            But then again that's all the evil officers' fault right? They're mental powers are so great they repress any desire for people to actually educate themselves as to what is and is not legal?

            I will agree that if the officers intent was to physically stop her in hindsight going for the arm might have been better but then again the shoulder is frankly easier and it's always fun to play hindsight because hell in hindsight (or with godly powers) the officers would have know the culpit already had run away.

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