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No promotion for police lieutenant acquitted of assault

A promotion to captain has been denied for a Philadelphia police lieutenant who lost his job after he was accused of hitting a woman at the city's 2012 Puerto Rican Day Parade and got it back when he was acquitted of charges.

A promotion to captain has been denied for a Philadelphia police lieutenant who lost his job after he was accused of hitting a woman at the city's 2012 Puerto Rican Day Parade and got it back when he was acquitted of charges.

The city is set to promote 12 lieutenants to captain this month, but Lt. Jonathan Josey, 44, will not be among them even though he was second in line to be promoted, he and other sources confirmed.

Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman, declined to comment on Josey's status, saying the promotions list isn't "official" and hasn't yet been approved by Commissioner Richard Ross.

But officers on the promotions list have been notified, and some began reporting Monday for pre-promotional training. The promotions ceremony is set for March 18 at Temple University.

Josey, a decorated veteran of the force, was charged with assault and fired after a bystander caught him on videotape appearing to slap a woman, knocking her to the ground as she crossed the street after the September 2012 parade.

But a judge acquitted him in February 2013 after Josey claimed he was trying to knock a beer out of Guzman's hand, and he got his job back through arbitration.

The woman in the video, Aida Guzman, received a $75,000 settlement from the city after filing a federal lawsuit over the incident.

Josey declined to comment, other than to confirm he won't be promoted.

Guzman, the woman whose injury led to Josey's employment troubles, has had problems of her own lately.

Her 16-year-old son, Josue Fernandez, allegedly shot another 16-year-old in the buttocks as a crowd of high school students exited a school bus Feb. 18 in Chester.

Fernandez is now charged as an adult with aggravated assault and related offenses; he's being held on $500,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing this morning, according to court records.

Police serving a warrant on the boy's home found drugs there and charged Guzman, 43, with several drug offenses, according to court records. She faces a March 9 preliminary hearing. Court records do not indicate that she has a defense attorney yet. Efforts to reach Enrique Latoison, the attorney who represented her in the Josey case, were not immediately successful.

Other controversial cops denied promotion in recent years have found patience rewarding and were promoted.

Officer Michael Spicer was promoted to sergeant after federal authorities charged him and five colleagues in a sweeping racketeering conspiracy, in which prosecutors alleged that he and other narcotics officers beat drug suspects, stole money from them and filed false police reports to cover up their actions, that Ramsey called one of the worst corruption cases he'd seen. A jury last May acquitted the officers of all charges, and arbitrators ordered them reinstated. Spicer was promoted in September in a ceremony Ramsey skipped.

Police reformers have long decried the police department's arbitration system, which reinstates most fired cops.

Former Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey often criticized the system, saying it weakened his ability to root out corruption in the department. And the Police Advisory Commission in November 2014 called on the city to reform the process, after reviewing 26 cases - including Josey's - of officers being fired for domestic assault, excessive force, on-duty intoxication and other offenses, and finding that most got their jobs back.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, vowed to fight for Josey's promotion, although he wouldn't get into details how he'll do so.

"The (allegation) was that he smacked a girl, but the findings of the court were the exact same findings of the Internal Affairs bureau, which said the girl's cut was consistent with her slipping and biting her lip. He never even hit the girl," McNesby said.

"Here's a guy who was a decorated lieutenant prior to this. He's commanded two large squads in major crimes. He's been back (since getting fired and reinstated) for a couple years with not a wrinkle. He's a good leader in the Philadelphia Police Department who I can guarantee will be a captain soon," McNesby said.

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