POLICE AND protesters came armed with video cameras Sunday to a fundraiser at the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 for an officer who was fired after being caught on camera punching a woman last month.
About 75 protesters gathered outside FOP headquarters on Spring Garden Street near Broad to call for charges against Highway Patrol Lt. Jonathan Josey and to heckle those going into the $30-a-person benefit held in his honor - especially the women who attended.
"Be careful, you might get punched in there," "Shame on you," and "Women should stand together," were among the phrases protesters yelled at guests.
On Sept. 30, Josey, 40, was working in North Philadelphia following the Puerto Rican Day Parade when one or more people threw unknown liquids on a group of cops while their backs were turned.
Josey turned around and spotted Aida Guzman, 39, who was walking away from the cops. While Guzman's back was turned, Josey punched her in the face and the back of the head, as seen on a YouTube video that has more than 1.4 million views.Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey suspended Josey on Oct. 3 with the intent to dismiss.
FOP President John McNesby said the benefit had been sponsored by Josey's co-workers and friends and not the FOP, though fliers carried the FOP letterhead.
"He's a really good guy, a good cop and a good supervisor," McNesby said of Josey.
The protest of the Josey benefit was organized by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW), though various other groups participated, sometimes clashing with each other.
NACOPRW protesters could be distinguished by their civility and their green shirts printed with the Puerto Rican flag and "Don't tread on me" on the front.
Supporters of Josey had their own shirts too, with Josey's name on the front and "The men and women in blue will always support you," written on the back.
Vivian Ortiz, 49, the treasurer of NACOPRW's Philadelphia chapter, said the fundraiser was "unacceptable."
"This officer does need help, but he needs emotional help," she said. "That's what they should give him instead of money."
Jay Edgar, 45, chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party, said he was surprised that Josey was fired.
"I'm glad to see they did act on it," he said, "but if it was one of us, we'd be facing criminal charges."
Quetcy Lozada, president of the Philadelphia chapter of NACOPRW, said the benefit was a "slap in the face."
"Every single person in that room needs to understand what it would feel like if it was a member of their family," she said.
At one point during the demonstration, the crowd surrounded Civil Affairs Unit Capt. Stephen Glenn, who was working detail at the protest, and began yelling at him and using obscenities.
"You're here to protect them!" one protester shouted.
"I'm here to protect you," said Glenn, who remained calm and composed, even when protesters were calling his officers "scumbags" just for working the detail.
When asked why one of his officers was filming protesters, Glenn said they film when there's a potential for confrontation.
"What's been happening as of late is everyone brings their tape to court," he said. "The courts have been demanding of video, and you'll notice a lot of people here have video, too."
The protesters, meanwhile, were filming each other and the police.
- Staff writer William Bender
contributed to this report.