Outraged with the recent acquittal of a former cop who was caught on video hitting a woman at the Puerto Rican Day Parade, about 60 protesters swarmed the east side of City Hall on Friday and briefly shut down traffic on Penn Square.
"This is about justice," Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez told the crowd. "I don't want to be the next Aida Guzman."
Many members of the city’s Puerto Rican community showed up to rally support for Aida Guzman, who was hit by then-Lt. Jonathan Josey at the parade in September. Josey lost his job after the incident.
Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan’s decision to acquit Josey on Tuesday has come under fire after it was revealed that he is married to a police officer and is backed by the police union.
Guzman attended the rally, telling supporters in Spanish, “Thank you with all my heart.”
Dugan’s decision, however unpopular, cannot be appealed in state court. The only hope for Guzman’s case, her lawyer said Friday, is that it builds enough public support that the federal Department of Justice takes it up.
After many protestors had poured onto the street, Quinones-Sanchez said she supports Guzman's hope that the case be taken up by the feds.
“Unfortunately, Judge Dugan – and I know him personally – should have recused himself. We knew it was a high-profile case and would be scrutinized, and why put yourself in that situation?” she said. “It does add to the natural inclination of people not to trust a system. When people say, ‘That’s Philadelphia,’ we should all be outraged.”