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Philadelphia Cop May Face Criminal Charges After Striking Woman

The video of a Philadelphia police officer striking an unarmed woman during the city's Puerto Rican Day parade has gone viral over the Internet, and could result in criminal assault charges being levied. As reported by CBSPhilly.com, Lieutenant Jonathan Josey of the Philadelphia Police Department was identified as the officer who hit the woman in the face, which knocked her to the ground. Josey then handcuffed her and she was led away by two other officers.

She was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly throwing a beer bottle at the officers.

After seeing the video, which had been viewed more than 1.3 million times, the district attorney has dropped the criminal charges against the woman, but has not ruled out bringing assault charges against Lt. Josey. It is expected that he will be dismissed from the police department after serving a 30 day suspension.

The story is a cautionary tale in how people can be criminally charged with assault, including police officers. Under Pennsylvania law, a person can be found guilty of criminal assault if he or she "attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another."

Simple assault is a second degree misdemeanor. If an assault occurs during a scuffle or fight, the law presumes that both parties consented to entering the fray, and the assault is charged as a third degree misdemeanor. Misdemeanors do carry the prospect of jail time, so it is important to take these charges seriously.

If you have been charged with a crime or are being investigated for your role in a fight, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: CBSNews.com, "Lt. Jonathan Josey, Philadelphia cop caught on video hitting woman in face, will lose his job" October 4, 2012; §2701(a), Pennsylvania Code

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Gregory R. Gifford
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