A disturbing video of police brutality Philadelphia-style is circulating around the internet this week. The video was uploaded to YouTube by "Gisela Valentin" on Sept. 30. It was taken just after Philadelphia's Puerto Rican Day parade last Sunday.
Philadelphia police Lieutenant Jonathan Josey, a 19-year veteran, clearly and without warning punches a woman after she appears to throw a liquid or “silly string” toward a group of police officers. ABC News says that the Philadelphia police department is investigating itself -- of course -- in this matter.
The video depicts a woman in a black T-shirt being punched once in the face, and again, without warning. She falls to the ground and is immediately handcuffed by the same officer.
The video was posted to Reddit on Monday morning and has now gone viral.
Whether or not the woman threw anything at the police, this lieutenant’s response was simply, plainly over the top and utterly inappropriate. The International Digital Times has branded the whole incident a "completely and utterly disgusting" case of police brutality.
After being cuffed and lifted from the ground, the woman’s face, jaw and mouth are clearly, profusely bleeding as she is being led/pushed by the policeman in question and other officers toward a waiting “Paddy Wagon.”
She has been identified as Aida Gusman, 39, a “domestic worker” and mother of three children. She is from Chester, Pa.
As stated above, Josey has been on the Philadelphia Police Force for 19 years. He is reputed to have a “good” record; and as a lieutenant, one would hope that he sets a good example for lower-ranking officers. If this is an example of his "role modeling," then it answers a lot of questions about the tense relationship between the Philly police and the citizenry.
A public review of his record (not to mention the entire force's policy on crowd control) seems in order.
Again, this incident occurred at a Puerto Rican Day Parade. The woman, Ms. Gusman, appears to be a Latina. Josey is African American. It is incidents like this which keep the black and brown communities of America from uniting to confront a common enemy, white supremacy.
The late author James Baldwin, in researching his last book, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, indicated that he witnessed an arrest of several black people in Atlanta during the manhunt for the Atlanta child murderer in 1980. He wrote that he saw black officers brutalizing other blacks in ways similar to this incident. One man complained to an officer: “Why are you doing this? I’m black just like you,” he said.
The officer’s reply was telling. “Yeah, I may be black, all right,” he said. “But I’m not black like you.”
Here Baldwin identified the conflation of class and race, which together keeps us all -- black, white, red, yellow, brown -- suffering from both the divide-and-conquer and “crabs in a barrel” syndromes.