Video of police officer punching woman prompts probe

In scenes from a YouTube video, a Philadelphia police officer strikes a woman, knocking her down, and another officer escorts her away in handcuffs with a bloody face. The video was posted online Sept. 30, 2012, and was apparently shot at the Puerto Rican Day parade.
In scenes from a YouTube video, a Philadelphia police officer strikes a woman, knocking her down, and another officer escorts her away in handcuffs with a bloody face. The video was posted online Sept. 30, 2012, and was apparently shot at the Puerto Rican Day parade. (YouTube)
Posted: October 02, 2012

The Philadelphia Police Department this morning opened an internal affairs investigation into an officer who was captured on video punching a woman in the face after Sunday's Puerto Rican Day parade.

Law enforcement sources identified the officer as Lt. Jonathan Josey, a 19-year veteran of the force who is currently assigned to Highway Patrol unit.

Josey was cited for bravery by the Citizens Crime Commission for fatally shooting an armed robber in 2010 while he was off-duty. Josey happened to walk into a Bala Cynwyd 7-Eleven in 2010 while Kenneth DeShields, an Iraq war veteran, was holding up the store. He was cleared of any charges in the incident.

Sunday's incident took place on North 5th Street, near Lehigh Avenue, during what police described as a street party that takes place after the annual parade.

The department had no immediate comment on the video, which depicts a police officer hitting the woman while she is walking away from a group of officers. The officer apparently thought the woman threw beer at police.

City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, a central organizer of the parade, said she spoke with Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey this morning, and that Ramsey was particularly upset because the incident involved a commanding officer.

"He was very concerned," Sanchez said. She noted that this year's parade theme was "The Puerto Rican Woman."

The lieutenant will be assigned to desk duty while the incident is investigated, police said.

Sanchez said she had met with police commanders before the parade in the hope of avoiding conflicts between police and paradegoers.

"It's unfortunate that this happened because we just talked about it before the parade," said Sanchez.

The woman, who is not identified, is shown falling to the ground, her face bloodied. In the seconds before the punch, the woman had been walking around a group of people and police officers. Someone near her in the crowd can be seen throwing some liquid into the air, toward the officers. (View the video here: www.bit.ly/Pnrjwe.)

It appears in the video that she had sprayed silly string from a can.

The woman was taken into custody and issued a citation for disorderly conduct, police said, then released.


Contact Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com

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