City to pay $75,000 to woman who says officer hit her

Posted: May 11, 2013

The Jonathan Josey saga continues.

A Philadelphia official said Friday that the city will pay $75,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the woman who accused the former city police lieutenant of slapping her to the ground during the 2012 Puerto Rican Day parade.

The settlement, confirmed by city spokesman Mark McDonald, comes despite a municipal judge's ruling in February that Josey was not guilty of assaulting the woman, Aida Guzman, in what became an infamous incident caught on video.

That ruling was hailed by Josey's fellow officers but questioned by some in the Latino community.

Josey, a decorated veteran of the force, said he accidentally hit Guzman while trying to swipe a beer bottle from her hand. He wants his job back.

Jeffrey Scott, a lawyer for Josey, confirmed the settlement Friday but said he was not authorized to discuss it.

Just as the ink was drying on that agreement, another claim emerged.

In a separate lawsuit filed in federal court, a Delaware man accused Josey, four other officers, and the city of civil rights violations, assault, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and other offenses stemming from a Sept. 2, 2011, traffic stop in North Philadelphia.

James A. Lewis, 44, of Townsend, Del., contends that Josey beat him without provocation that day and had him and his sons wrongly arrested.

At a preliminary hearing on the charges against Lewis, Josey had said he stopped Lewis because he drove his 2004 Bentley into a center turn lane to pass a line of traffic along Erie Avenue. Josey also testified that Lewis and his sons resisted arrest.

But the District Attorney's Office withdrew the charges against Lewis two months ago. At the time, a prosecutor said the decision was not related to Josey's conduct at the parade.

Lewis' lawsuit, filed Thursday, was not a surprise: his lawyers, Dennis Cogan and Anthony Petrone, had vowed to bring a suit.

McDonald, the city spokesman, said officials would have no comment on pending litigation.


Contact John P. Martin at 215-925-2649, jmartin@phillynews.com, or @JPMartinInky on Twitter.

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