philly.comTriggering a deafening eruption of cheers from a courtroom packed with scores of Philadelphia police, a city judge this morning found ex-police Lt. Jonathan Josey not guilty of simple assault for swinging at and decking a woman during an unruly street party after last year’s Puerto Rican Parade. Municipal Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan said he remained troubled by Josey’s conduct on the 10-second video that shows Josey hit Aida Guzman from behind and knock her to the ground during the Sept. 30 incident at Fifth Street and Lehigh Avenue in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia. Dugan, however, cited Josey’s testimony that the 19-year decorated police veteran was trying to swipe a beer bottle from Guzman’s hand and accidentally hit her. Josey said he acted in the context of an escalating melee in which some spectators were throwing beer bottles at police trying to arrest a driver doing “donuts” in the middle of the intersection. The judge also cited other police testimony and character witnesses and an defense expert on police procedure who approved of Josey’s conduct. Dugan said the video alone was not enough to prove that Josey intended to harm Guzman: “This is not a social media contest, this is not trial by video.”

The true takeaway of this entire incident — the Philadelphia police need to be more relaxed with their Puerto Rican Parade donut rules. The cops should know that Puerto Ricans are gonna do donuts whether they’re allowed to or not, and that restricting them or over-enforcing donut laws is only going to incite bottle-related violence. Taking away doing PR Day donuts in the street is like taking away beans and empanadas. Let’s try to solve the root of the problem and not concentrate on the aggressive punch-like style Philadelphia police use to grab bottles from skinny defenseless women.  They’re a very festive people.