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Philadelphia cop accused of punching woman found not guilty

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 26 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 27 2013 05:50:42 AM CST

Philadelphia cop accused of punching woman found not guilty

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -

The video was shocking, but for some, the verdict is even more shocking.

A judge says a veteran cop is not guilty of punching a woman in the face after last year's Puerto Rican Day parade in Philadelphia. The incident was caught on video and seen around the world.

The not guilty verdict has some Hispanics in the Lehigh Valley frustrated.

"The video was shocking, but in the long run, acting in the scope of my duties, I, in no way, had any intentions on striking Miss Guzman," said former Lt. Jonathan Josey minutes after a judge acquitted him of simple assault.

The incident happened during a raucous street party after September's Puerto Rican Day parade. In tearful testimony, the 19-year police veteran claimed he was only trying to knock a beer out of Aida Guzman's hand.

Guzman's attorney believes there's more to it.

"The way that the Spanish community has been portrayed throughout this whole incident is really just inflammatory," said attorney Enrique Latoison.

Along Seventh Street in Allentown, home to several Hispanic businesses, many feel the same way.

"She's a woman and him being a police officer -- she didn't have a gun or anything," said Jorge Baltan in Spanish. "All he needed to do was grab her from the side."

Calvin Smith added: "We look for the officers to protect us out here -- do their job. When you start doing a little bit too much, taking it out of hand, that's when the people pretty much start to fight against you."

But the judge said the brief video, while shocking, does not tell the whole story of what led up to the incident. The Fraternal Order of Police backed Josey in the lawsuit.

"Police work is not always pretty, and Jon Josey did exactly what he needed to do to control that situation," said Philadelphia FOP president John McGrody.

Latino groups predicted the verdict will have a chilling effect.

"I've always said that we, as a community, have to trust and have faith in out judicial system, and messages like this -- with a not guilty verdict -- sends the wrong message," said Quetcy Lozada with the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women.

Josey said he will try to get his job back, although Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey said he will fight that move.

Meantime, Guzman plans to file civil lawsuits over the incident.