Advocates urge federal action in case of former Lt. Jonathan Josey

Jonathan Josey
Rikard Larma/Metro. Former Philadelphia police Lt. Jonathan Josey was dismissed from the force in October.

A coalition of advocacy groups are urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate what they’re calling “a miscarriage of justice” in the case of former Philadelphia police Lt. Jonathan Josey, who was last month found not guilty of simple assault in Philadelphia Municipal Court for striking 39-year-old Aida Guzman in the face during a post Puerto Rican Day Parade celebration.

A video of the alleged assault was uploaded to YouTube and quickly went viral, further stoking controversy.

The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women Philadelphia Chapter, the Latino Empowerment Alliance of Delaware Valley, the Puerto Rico 51st State Committee and other organizations yesterday circulated a petition addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder.

The letter calls the incident a “violent and unjustified attack of a Puerto Rican woman” and asks the federal government to prosecute Josey for “criminal violations of Ms. Aida Guzman’s civil rights.”

“On Tuesday, February 26th, in a decision that shocked the sensibilities of the entire Philadelphia region, Municipal Court Judge Patrick Dugan made a mockery of the justice system by ruling Mr. Josey not guilty,” it states.

“In addition, to add insult to injury, Judge Dugan also racially profiled Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community during the hearing.”

The petition claims Dugan made comments during the sentencing hearing that “indicated a racial bias against the Puerto Rican community.” It also criticizes the judge for failing to disclose he was married to a Philadelphia police officer, “who was in his courtroom supporting Jonathan Josey throughout the trial process.”

“The incident in question is one of a long line of cases, a pattern, wherein citizens of Philadelphia are unjustly attacked by PPD officers and the Philadelphia court system fails to uphold the civil rights of the victims,” the letter concludes.

“These too frequent police brutality cases lead to a loss of confidence in the judicial process, distrust of law enforcement and a deterioration of the bond between the citizenry and its protectors.”

More information is expected to be announced during a press conference on Friday.


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