By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local women’s advocacy group is planning to file a formal request for a federal probe into the recent acquittal of former Philadelphia police lieutenant Jonathan Josey. He was found not guilty of assault charges stemming from an incident in which he was caught on videotape slapping a woman to the ground during a Puerto Rican Day celebration (see related story).
“We’re not going to stop putting pressure on this,” says Quetcy Lozada, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women. “We’re not going away. We have a lot of support from other organizations.”
She says the group has been knocking on doors and has gathered more than 250 signatures on a petition calling for the US attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and for the US attorney general to investigate the ruling by Philadelphia Municipal Court judge Patrick Dugan.
Lozada says Dugan — who is married to a Philadelphia police officer — may have been pressured to rule in favor of Josey.
“The courtroom was packed, standing room only with police officers in uniform, including his wife, all in support of Josey,” says Lozada. “[Dugan] is supported by the FOP, he is endorsed by the FOP. And so, with all of those things lined up, there is no way this judge could carry out his duties without bias.”
Lozada says the Latino community also takes issue with statements made by Dugan during the trial.
“He kind of classified the community near 5th and Lehigh as people smoking marijuana and drinking alchohol — basically people who have no respect for the law,” Lozada says. “That is a problem, because not everyone who was in that area smokes anything or does drugs. They were there for the festivities.”
Lozada says they will deliver a letter to federal prosecutors on Friday, demanding action. She says they will keep pushing, buoyed by support from organizations such as the Latino Empowerment Alliance of Delaware Valley and others.
“Aida Guzman is not the only person in this city who has experienced injustice by the (police) department,” says Lozada. “We have to stand up if we want the city to respect us as individuals.”
A spokesperson for the First Judicial District declined to comment, and the Philadelphia FOP did not immediately return calls requesting comment.