Allentown
72° F
Clear
Clear

Berks residents react to YouTube video showing woman apparently struck by Phila. police

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 01 2012 11:02:44 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2012 04:40:57 AM CDT

Activists respond to youtube video of woman struck

Shockwaves are rippling all the way to Berks County after a YouTube video, apparently showing a high-ranking police officer striking a parade goer, went viral.

The incident happened during an after party to this weekend's Puerto Rican Day Parade in North Philadelphia.

The video starts with a number officers conducting a traffic stop.

Then you can see 40-year-old Aida Guzman, mother of three, jumping behind the officers.

A few seconds later, an unidentified person behind Guzman hurls beer through the air that lands on police.

Lt. Jonathan Josey, an almost two decade veteran of the force, turns around, and instead of approaching the person who threw the beer, he approaches Guzman, and appears to strike her in the face.

Regional activist, Oscar Rosario was in the area registering voters and says he's concerned.

"To me it's simple police brutality, no questions asked," said Rosario. "You can see it on the video. It's crystal clear."

Officials say Lt. Josey has been taken off the streets pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.

But Rosario says that's a conflict of interest, and is calling on the federal authorities to get involved.

"I think the FBI should be the ones doing the investigation," Rosario said. "I do not believe that the police should investigate the police."

But Rosario was not the only one disturbed by the YouTube video.

"Shock. All I could say was 'wow,'" said Maritza Colon.

Colon has been helping to organize Latino festivals in Berks County, similar to the Puerto Rican Day Parade, for almost decade.

She says the key to a peaceful event is crowd control, limiting alcohol and urging the public to show respect.

"As an emcee, one of the things I always stress is to please behave, we want to come back," Colon said. "There is no tolerance for police brutality, just as we don't tolerate disrespect to them within our community."

Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby issued this statement to 69 News:

"We're going to stand by officer Josey during the investigation. There's a lot more to the film than the 30 seconds shown. The conduct on the street was absurd and we're looking forward to the investigation being completed."

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department explained officials are disturbed by the video, but they have to look at all the evidence before any final decisions are made on this case.