Commissioner Ramsey Promises Swift, Thorough Investigation Into Officer Beating Incident
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By Oren Liebermann, Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The outrage spread as fast as the video. With nearly a million hits in two days, the YouTube video of Lt. Jonathan Josey punching Aida Guzman, 39, has gone viral, picked up by news networks across the country.
In Chester, Guzman has retained attorney Enrique Latoison.
“Now that the initial adrenaline rush has worn off, my client is actually dealing with the injuries she suffered and also the emotional injuries,” said Latoison.
A short clip of the original video – zoomed in on Guzman – shows her spraying silly string in the direction of police officers. None of the officers seems to notice, and none of the silly string appears to hit Lt. Josey. On Monday, Guzman said she did not shoot any silly string.
“I am an older woman. I am 39 years old. I don’t have time to be playing around or throwing water to be disrespecting another person,” said Guzman, speaking through her daughter who translated.
But on Tuesday, her lawyer says she did shoot silly string into the air, but did not aim at any of the officers. He says they have not decided yet on pressing charges or filing suit.
“My client is actually a very good person, a very understanding person. She has not made a rush to judgment, the same kind of rush to judgment that was made against her. My client is actually deliberating on how we’re going to proceed from here,” said Latoison.
Latoison says he intends to fight the charge of disorderly conduct police gave her, if it is not dropped first.
Shortly after getting off of a plane from San Diego Tuesday evening, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey made his first public comments about the video.
Ramsey was attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference over the weekend but said he had a chance to see the video of Sunday’s incident that happened at 5th and Lehigh Avenue.
“Obviously it’s a video that’s very troubling. When you see it, it’s very clear, and from what I saw it’s difficult to justify the actions that took place,” Ramsey said.
He said officers are trained to only use force that is necessary to make arrests and said Sunday’s incident was, “in excess of what was needed to bring the situation under control.”
WEB EXTRA: Commissioner Ramsey Speaks On Incident
“A woman (Guzman), slightly built, walking away. I just didn’t see the justification for it,” he said. “But we’re taking statements now. We’ll do interviews. We’ll do all those things that we need to do and I want to get this wrapped up as quickly as possible.”
Josey is known as a highly-decorated member of the force and Ramsey said he knows him and respects him but that would not affect his decision.
“He’s in an elite unit in the department. He has a lot of commendations for bravery and merit. So, he’s done some good things,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that behavior like this is going to be accepted.”
This incident comes during a difficult stretch for the department which has had a number of “black eyes” to deal with.
“I think this is the sixth person, Lieutenant or above, that has had some form of misconduct alleged to have taken place over the last two months or so. That is something that I am deeply concerned about. We should be role models and examples for the men and women who work for us,” he said.
As the video continues to get more views and community outrage grows, Ramsey promised a swift and thorough investigation and says the public should not rush to judge until all of the facts have been sorted out.