PHILADELPHIA — Members of the city's police union are planning a fundraiser for a lieutenant who is being fired for punching a woman at a parade, an encounter caught on video.
Earlier this month, the city's police commissioner announced that Lt. Jonathan Josey was suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
Mayor Michael Nutter apologized to the woman, saying he was "appalled," "sickened" and "ashamed" by the video. It shows 39-year-old Aida Guzman being struck in the face and falling to the ground, her face bloodied, and then being led away in handcuffs during a street festival associated with the city's annual Puerto Rican Day parade.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported that union members are supporting Josey and holding a five-hour, $30-a-person fundraiser for him on Oct. 28. Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said the proceeds will go toward Josey's living expenses.
"It was inappropriate for the city to apologize to this woman and drop the charges until the investigation was complete," McNesby said. "And we still don't believe it's a fireable offense."
The fundraiser isn't an official union event, McNesby said. But the newspaper reports it's being advertised on union letterhead and on the union website.
City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez said she was disappointed because the fundraiser makes it appear that officers condone Josey's actions.
"While I understand that the FOP has to defend one of its own, I am extremely disappointed because this will appear that they are condoning the very visible actions of Josey, which hurts the image of their good officers," said Sanchez, who represents the district where the encounter occurred.
Guzman's attorney said he had no strong objection to the benefit.
"We don't think he should be reinstated, that's for sure," attorney Enrique Latoison said. "But as a defense attorney, I understand that his people are going to defend him and look out for him."
A disorderly conduct charge against Guzman has been withdrawn.
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