After a video of Lt. Jonathan D. Josey II hitting Aida Guzmán — a Latina who was attending festivities after the annual Puerto Rican Parade in Philadelphia Sept. 30 — went viral, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey fired him. But the Fraternal Order of Police plans to throw him a party.
According to a report by Dana DiFilippo of the Philadelphia Daily News, "The police union will fete the 19-year veteran with a $30-per-person benefit Oct. 28. 'Come On Out and Support ONE OF OUR OWN' reads a flier inviting officers to the five-hour, Sunday-afternoon event at the FOP Hall on Spring Garden near Broad." (To read DiFilippo's story, click here.)
María Quiñones-Sánchez, who represents District 7 on City Council, expressed disbelief when she found out, according to DiFilippo.
But is it surprising, really? The FOP has previously expressed similar support for its members, irrespective of accusations of brutality against the officers involved. And there have been a number of instances of dubious and excessive force in the past years. In 2011, there were accusations of police brutality perpetrated against members of Occupy Philly, and 2010, both Citypaper and the Inquirer ran articles about excessive force used on unlikely individuals — one of them a 63-year-old woman using an exercise bicycle at a gym.
The problem, of course, is that the police polices itself, and despite the fact that Josey was fired after his incident, there isn't a lot of confidence from ordinary people on the street that he won't be hired back by the department after the hubbub surrounding the video dies down more fully.
DiFilippo quotes the current FOP president as saying the benefit party for Josey is not inappropriate, and further stating he doesn't believe the officer's offense was a fireable one.
We find the FOP president's assertion incredible and offensive (you can watch the video that went viral by clicking here) and call on Commissioner Ramsey to clarify to us — and to the Fraternal Order of Police — what, exactly, constitutes a fireable offense when a city police officer is involved.