(PHILADELPHIA) — The Philadelphia cop under investigation for punching a woman in the face has had 13 previous complaints against him over his 19 years on the force, but co-workers insist he is “a good cop.”
A video posted on YouTube shows the officer punching a woman in the face and knocking her to the ground before she is led off bloodied and handcuffed.
The officer has been identified as Lt. Jonathan Josey.
“If I was in a jam, I’d want him backing me up,” Lt. Ray Evers told ABC News. “He’s a good cop, but the video speaks for itself and the investigation will reveal whatever it reveals.”
Josey, 39, has had 13 complaints made against him over his career, but Evers said that it is hard to qualify whether that is a lot, a little or average. He said it is not entirely unusual for officers who have frequent contact with people in rougher neighborhoods to have complaints made against them.
He said the 13 complaints against Josey range from verbal abuse to physical abuse.
“It’s hard to decide if that’s a lot or a little,” Evers said. “Most were unfounded or not sustained.”
Evers said documentation regarding whether Josey was ever disciplined was not immediately available to him. Josey could not be reached for comment.
Investigators are looking for more information on the circumstances surrounding the incident. They are asking that anyone who may have witnessed the incident call Internal Affairs.
“We don’t see exactly what happened before,” Evers said, referring to the video. “It doesn’t look good and the naked eye sees that.”
The woman was identified as Aida Gusman, 39, a mother of three and domestic worker, according to ABC News Philadelphia station WPVI. She denied throwing anything at police and said she did not know why she was punched.
“I’m 40 years old. I don’t have time to play games like that,” Gusman told WPVI. In addition to her facial injury, she has cuts and bruises on her arm and hand.
Josey was placed on “restricted status” on Monday, meaning that he is relegated to “administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation,” Evers said.
The video was taken at Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, an event that Evers said “usually goes off without a hitch.”
“Internal Affairs opened up an investigation in reference to the incident and the actions of that officer,” Evers said. “The incident is being fully investigated.”
The video shows a crowd of blue-shirted police officers standing in the middle of a street, around a car. Someone on the left appears to throw something resembling silly string or a liquid on the cops. An officer in a white shirt rushes out of the crowd and goes after a woman with long, dark hair and a black T-shirt.
Her back is to the camera so it is unclear if she was saying anything to him. The officer appears to punch her in the face and then hit her in the back of the head. She falls to the ground where two officers apprehend her and lead her off. As she passes the camera, blood can be seen streaming down her face.
“There were people in the crowd throwing items at the officer, water and other things,” Evers said.
The woman was taken into custody on a disorderly conduct charge and was later released. Evers said he believed she had a cut lip, but was not seriously injured.
The YouTube video, titled “Philadelphia Police Brutality,” was posted on Sept. 30 and has been viewed nearly 840,000 times. Viewers have left thousands of comments.
Some of the comments were in support of the officer, but the majority denounced his behavior.
“Regardless of what was done or provoked, the use of excessive force is apparent in this case. She was pursued and smacked, not restrained,” one commenter wrote.
“She is obviously not [sic] threat and can easily be subdued by a man of his size versus her small frame plus there was plenty of back up,” another wrote. “His position and authority contradict his actions, I would hope his rank was earned off of better judgement [sic] in the past because this was just shameful.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire