Maybe I’m missing something here. It would not be the first time. I have seen the now infamous cell-phone video of then-Philadelphia Police Lt. Jonathan Josey’s altercation with a woman last September after the city’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.
It looks for all the world to me like a guy slugging a woman. Josey was charged with assault and lost his job.
But yesterday a judge acquitted him of the charges.
The judge made a point of saying that while he was “troubled” by the actions on the video, there were other things going on at the time, and castigated the media for sensationalizing the video by playing it endlessly in coverage of the event. Judge Patrick Dugan said the video “did not the whole story.”
Look, I was not there. I certainly understand that it is very likely the entire context of what was going on was missing from the tape. There were allegations of beer being thrown at the police.
I don’t see how any of that changes what is seen on the video, and that is Josey taking a couple of steps toward Aida Guzman, who happens to be from Chester, and then smacking her with a right hand, sending her tumbling to the street.
In court, Josey’s explanation was that he was trying to knock something out of Guzman’s hand. Just for good measure, after he knocked her to the ground, bloodying her lip, Josey arrested her. Those charges later were tossed.
I don’t have anything against Guzman, or cops. I know these cases captured on videotape pose some specific legal problems.
Every time we see another one, we hear the same warning: The tape does not tell the whole story.
I thought this one did.
I guess I was wrong.