Beating women acceptable for US police?
Yet another in a seemingly endless stream of cases of extreme police brutality in the US is having international resonance as another video posted on the internet goes viral and the world watches as a Philadelphia police officer brutally punches a small defenseless Puerto Rican woman, named Aida Guzman, in the face as she has her back turned to him and is walking away. The force of the blow was enough to throw her off her feet and knock her to the ground. Her crime? She reportedly was charged with spraying the police with a children’s toy called
The event took place during Puerto Rican Day festivities where a massive police presence had gathered. Those celebrating were enjoying their holiday and not engaged in any sort of act of protest or demonstration. They were attempting to celebrate their cultural heritage, not the heritage and history that Puerto Ricans have faced from the US, mirrored by the brutal event, but the cultural history of their people.
Just a little history for the international readers: Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean and a U.S. possession which was annexed by the US in the 1950s. Puerto Ricans are small minority in the US and are subjected to institutionalized discrimination and persecution and are often the objects of racist attacks by members of varying race groups. US states classify Puerto Ricans as belonging to different race groups, with some calling them white, some black and some Latino.
Puerto Ricans have classically been treated as second class citizens in the US, although they possess US citizenship from birth and many have large percentages of Indian blood flowing through their veins, from the native Taino Indians, who the US has classified as “exterminated.”
Back to the case at hand, the officer, one Lieutenant Jonathan Josey, deemed to be an outstanding officer by the police, has not been charged with any crime although it is clear that his actions were criminal and monstrously brutal.
Josey is no stranger to the people of Philadelphia when it comes to police brutality. He is also no stranger to those on the singles circuit where Josey nominated himself Sexy Single for 2006 and posted pictures of his half-nude self complete with tattoos and pierced nipples on the web for all too see.
According to local press reports Josey, a 19-year-veteran of the police force, has over 20 complaints against him that have been filed with the internal affairs division. Yet he is still on the street. One such case against him, according to the site
Josey was also the subject of a lawsuit for which the city had to pay $7,500.00 to settle after he kicked, punched and threw an innocent man against a wall while supposedly searching for a weapon, another in a long series of brutality complaints against Josey.
Judging from local media reports the US press seems to be, for some reason, more worried about his 19-year-career and the “blemish” on his record and not the scars and damage that must have been done to the face of the little lady he punched.
There are also racial undertones to this case. If the woman was white and not Puerto Rican, the outrage would be extreme and on the other side of the spectrum if the officer had been white it would have been called a racist attack. Yet this was an act by a black cop beating a Puerto Rican woman, the press and the pundits are showing their indifference and trying to play neutral. Had it been black on black, we would probably not even have heard about this.
The officer has over 20 complaints, and this one just happened to be filmed. How many other innocent people did he beat and terrorize that we do not know about? How many members of the poor and defenseless side of society too afraid to file a complaint against an attacker in uniform is this man guilty of attacking? Can this type of behavior be supported by police departments?
Judging by the reaction in Philadelphia, this may be normal behavior and even commendable and heroic. How many hundreds if not thousands have been the victims of police violence in Philadelphia that we will never know about? How many animals such as Josey are currently working for US police departments? Millions?
In his half nude “Sexy Single” photo, posted by NBC news, with his tattoos and pierced nipples, Josey was apparently sitting in a housed owned by Al Capone in Atlantic City New Jersey. What location more befitting for a thug who beats defenseless little Puerto Rican women and preys on the weak than the former home a thug and killer of legendary proportions. Will Josey be arrested and punished? Not likely.