There are a lot of details to be sorted out in the case of Philadelphia Police Lt. Jonathan Josey II and his behavior during an incident last month.
Mostly everyone has seen the video played over and over again. Josey is seen walking up behind a woman later identified as Aida Guzman. The cop is seen hitting the woman knocking her to the ground. It looks really ugly.
Since it happened, Philly Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey called the action “troubling” and he fired Josey.
Here is a basic timeline: Josey is on duty during what was called the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sept. 30.
Josey sees Guzman and thinks she is the one responsible for spraying water or Silly String at a group of policemen.
Josey then sees Guzman walking away from the scene.
Josey punches her in the head from behind and knocks her to the ground. She is cuffed and charged with disorderly conduct.
Ramsey later calls the incident troubling and the DA’s office drops the charges against her. Mayor Michael Nutter even apologizes to her.
Now the Fraternal Order of Police cries foul about Josey getting fired before an investigation is complete. That I agree with. Let an investigation be conducted and then if the facts are the facts, then fire the guy. If he is found to have punched the woman for no apparent reason then he deserves to go. In the meantime, put him on desk duty or suspend him.
So there have been some major holes in the way all this went down.
However, the FOP hasn’t helped itself or Josey with its latest move.
According to a story on Philly.com (my favorite website besides dailylocal.com) – here’s the link — http://bit.ly/THB1QO, the FOP is having a benefit on Oct. 28 billing it as support of “one of its own.” For $30 you can attend a five-hour bash with the proceeds going to help the now-fired officer with living expenses.
Now don’t get me wrong, the cop deserves to be fired if the probe shows he did what we all saw him do in the video. And I do think he deserves due process. However the FOP should be careful about whom they support. Just because he’s a cop doesn’t mean you show him support in light of such charges. It’s a bit premature to make him out like he’s now the victim.
And according to the Philly.com story, others feel the same way.
“’You’re kidding me, right?’” City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez said of the benefit, according to their story.
“’While I understand that the FOP has to defend one of its own, I am extremely disappointed because this will appear that they are condoning the very visible actions of Josey, which hurts the image of their good officers,’” added Sanchez, who represents the district where the incident occurred.
The Philly.com story goes on quoting FOP President John McNesby who fully supports his guy.
Continues the Philly.com story:
“It was inappropriate for the city to apologize to this woman and drop the charges until the investigation was complete,” McNesby said. “And we still don’t believe it’s a fireable offense.”
He emphasized the event isn’t an official FOP benefit, even though it’s being advertised on FOP letterhead and the union’s website. Rather, “it’s a benefit that is going to be held at the FOP hall, by officers and co-workers. They’re using our building.”
Now c’mon, people just aren’t that dumb. Of course it’s an FOP-sponsored event. As the Philly.com story points out the event is being advertised on FOP letterhead and on its website. It’s at the FOP hall with his fellow officers, etc. It’s an FOP event.
The FOP loses its credibility when it makes bonehead decisions like this. I get that the FOP is there to support its members but really, the organization is going to get behind this guy even after watching the video? Granted, he was denied due process and all that but if I was a cop – FOP or not — I would be getting behind officers with better cases than this one. I couldn’t support Josey after seeing the video.
If I was a Philly cop there would be no way I’d be plunking down $30 for Josey. There are too many good police officers who have been dealt injustices who really need support. Those are the guys I’d be getting behind.
Just a bad decision if you ask me. But the bad decisions started the moment Josey allegedly raised a hand to a woman. Just my opinion…
— Andy Hachadorian