A short YouTube video shows a woman being struck in the face by a police officer at the Festival de la Americas following the Puerto Rico Day Parade in Philadelphia on Sunday.
“We were made aware of the video very, very early this morning. Internal Affairs opened up an investigation in reference to the incident and the actions of that officer,” Lt. Ray Evers told ABC News on Monday. “The incident is being fully investigated.”
The scene is chaotic and the circumstances surrounding the incident are not entirely known, but the video shows a group of police officers and a crowd of people intermixed at the festival. The woman who is eventually hit by an officer, identified as Aida Guzman, can be seen in the video hopping around and shouting something near the gathering of cops.
Moments later, one of the police officers, dressed in a white uniform, darts towards the woman and takes her to the ground with a vicious blow to the face.
Watch the video of the incident here:
And NBC Philadelphia provides a slow motion shot of the blow:
“You only see one vantage point, but what you do see is disturbing, I have to be honest about that” Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross told NBC Philadelphia.
Officials claim Guzman was spraying silly string at officers during a traffic stop. If you look closely at the video, it appears that Guzman is in fact holding a can of something. However, it should be noted, silly string hardly warrants that kind of force.
“The guy was out there spinning wheels and burning up tires in the middle of the highway, which is not normal. And we’re out there to make sure that stopped. As we’re doing it, things are being thrown, liquids are being tossed, substances being sprayed from a can” Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby said.
NBC Philadelphia has more details on the case:
Guzman was cited for disorderly conduct. Her face was bleeding as officers took her away.
Philadelphia police confirm the officer involved in the incident is Lt. Jonathan Josey. Josey has been with the department for more than 17 years and is a supervisor with the Highway Patrol. He is now on administrative duty.
Internal Affairs is investigating the incident, according to police. The FOP says it will defend Josey “to the end.”
McNesby said officers don’t know what’s being thrown at them, it has been bleach and urine in the past. He cautioned people not to judge the incident by a small clip of video.
This is not the first time that Josey has found his name in the headlines.
NBC Philadelphia reports that Josey was exonerated in the shooting death of a Philadelphia man suspected of robbing a convenience store in March 2010. Further, Josey was stabbed in the back while breaking up a fight outside a bar in Philly.
The executive director of Concilio, which puts on the parade every year, released the following statement demanding that the police investigate the incident thoroughly:
“While thousands of people celebrated at Concilio’s Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, an unexplainable incident was taking place at a community-run activity in North Philadelphia.
While we have no knowledge of what led to the incident, it is clear from the video that a police officer unnecessarily and brutally struck a woman in the face.”