You know it's been a crazy week when there's been a major police brutality thingee here in Philadelphia and I haven't had a chance to weigh in. The case of ex-Philadelphia police Lt. Jonathan Josey -- whose punching of a woman at the Puerto Rican Day parade created an Internet wave of outrage but not so much for the judge who found him innocent of assault -- is indeed infuriating. I'll outsource it to two Philadelphia writers with a much stronger reputation for sanity than my own -- Dave Davies and Ronnie Polaneczky -- to expand on why.
Personally, I find this case even more troubling because the judge who's under fire for his actions, including failing to disclose that his wife is a Philadelphia police officer, is Pat Dugan. Covering Philly politics in the late 1990s and 2000s, I met Pat several times, and I know a little about his service over in Iraq -- he's a good man. Yet he rolled over and played pussycat for Josey. That's because it's not the man, it's the system.
It's the loop we've talked about here at Attytood many times -- the circle of politicians, police, prosecutors and judges. Prosecutors in Philadelphia won't go after corrupt pols or cops. And if their hand gets forced -- let's say by a viral video on YouTube -- judges don't want to convict. It's the circle of life, Philly-style. And it's the little guy that gets screwed.
In America, you have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers -- but you can also waive that right. Those peers -- juries of regular folks like you and me -- have a lot of street sense. Just last week, a West Philadelphia man named Askia Sabur -- who was arrested and charged with assualt even after police were captured on video assaulting him -- was acquitted by a jury in under an hour. In a perfect world, officers like Josey accused of abuse or misconduct would face judgment from the citizens of Philadelphia, not their "peers" in a thin blue line of protectve self-interest.