Too bad for now fired Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Jonathan Josey that he punched a Puerto Rican woman in public instead of secretly pilfering federal funds earmarked for the poor.

Had Josey merely stolen from the poor instead of smashing a much smaller woman, he’d probably still have his Philadelphia Police Department job – like a group of PPD employees caught stealing.

And, had Josey, a 19-year PPD veteran, pilfered instead of punched he probably would not now face that criminal charge lodged against him last week by the District Attorney’s Office.

The DA’s Office hasn’t charged those PPD employees caught stealing.

Josey is the African-American (former) police supervisor caught on cell phone video punching a woman who Josey didn’t personally see committing any crime.

That viral video added more incriminating evidence to the brutality-stained image of the Philadelphia Police Department.

This video shows Aida Guzman walking away with her back turned to Josey when he quickly spun around, stepped toward Guzman and smashed her in the face during a parade at the end of September.

The prima facie evidence of Josey’s attack on that video seemingly shows an excessive use of force by a policeman which is illegal — irrespective of Guzman’s alleged provocation which police initially claimed was her either shouting or using harmless Silly String.

Too bad for Josey that video captured his “enforcement act,” thus eroding his ability to convince police investigators that he didn’t do what evidence showed he did.

This ex-police supervisor has a record of over a dozen citizen complaints — many claiming physical abuse — which police previously dismissed as unsubstantiated.

Too many in police work see citizen complaints as a “badge of honor” proving that they are “aggressive” in doing their jobs properly.

While Josey's [alleged] September assault made headlines, Philadelphia Police Department officials hid their quiet discipline of seven department employees caught stealing funds from a low-income energy assistance program.

That gang of seven PPD employees, including a staff member of a Deputy Police Commissioner, admitted fraudulently obtaining cash grants established to assist low-income residents to pay their utility bills.

Although those thieves admitted their crimes when confronted by police investigators, Police Department officials refused to discharge or criminally charge any of those thieves, opting instead for wrist-slap suspensions ranging from three to fifteen days.

So far, the DA’s Office hasn’t filed any charges for that criminal theft from the poor and taxpayers funding that federal program.

However, the DA’s Office said it “does not comment” on its investigations when declining a request to comment on whether that office plans charges or is just following the PPD lead of sweeping that stolen funds matter under the proverbial rug.

Adding insult to the injury of stealing from the poor, one of those seven PPD employees receiving internal discipline is a detective lieutenant who earned $94,000 last year according to city records.

Last week Philly prosecutors hit Jonathan Josey with a simple assault charge for his attack on Aida Guzman…an assault that appeared on video as more aggravated than simple.

Guzman, a Chester, Pa resident, received an immediate post-Josey pummeling when police slapped her with a disorderly conduct charge that authorities later withdrew.

Commendably, Guzman did receive an apology from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams termed the force Josey used when confronting Guzman as “not necessary” when Williams announced the misdemeanor criminal charge against Josey last week.

Too bad Jonathan Josey couldn’t claim a proxy status with the Israeli government so he could raise a ‘right-of-self-defense’ to excuse his assault on Guzman comparable to the standard excuse Israeli officials routinely raise for their recurring use of excessive force against defenseless Palestinians living in Gaza.

DA Williams, when announcing the charge against Josey, stated what should be a self-evident truth: “It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, and monsignor of a church, police officer or bus driver…Justice demands that we apply our law fairly.”

While Williams is right that no one is above the law, the persistent problem is that ‘equal-justice-for-all’ mandate is ignored by individuals, organizations and nations intent on enforcing their Might-Makes-Right code.

Just like Israel having its ardent defenders Josey receives strident support from Philadelphia’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police.

FOP President John McNesby vowed to defeat the criminal charge against Josey and get Josey restored to the PPD through the union-favoring arbitration system.

The FOP is a tenacious defender of police involved in brutality.

Rarely if ever does the FOP acknowledge that those illegal acts of brutality are both legally wrong and counter-productive to good policing that needs citizen support to succeed.

Earlier this year the FOP beat-up on the City’s Police Advisory Commission – the independent agency that monitors police conduct.

FOP Prez McNesby pounded the PAC, bashing it as “reckless [and a] direct threat to public safety.”

Since the PAC is underfunded-&-understaffed by City Hall and Police Commissioners routinely ignore its mostly mild recommendations, what caused McNesby to beat that agency like it shot a police officer?

The PAC had simply suggested that officers apologize to citizens who filed complaints.

With so many big problems in the world like debilitating recession, devastating climate change and war crimes in the Middle East, what is the big deal about a cop punching a woman?

Because downplaying small problems spark bigger problems.

 

Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.

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