Lt. Jonathan Josey will return to the Philadelphia Police Department.
An arbitrator ruled Monday that Josey will be reinstated to the force. Officer Jillian Russell, a department spokeswoman, said the 19-year veteran was awarded full benefits and back pay.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey fired Josey last October after a video captured Josey striking a woman following last year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.
The viral footage shows Josey punching Aida Guzman in the face during a street party in North Philadelphia.
“Most of them are hard-working, honest officers, but the ones that are not, this almost gives them a green light and says: ‘Hey, this is what you can do. This is what you can get away with,’” said Enrique Latoison, Guzman’s attorney.
Latoison said he spoke to Guzman about the decision and that she’s “upset.” “She’s in shock, and just kind of burned out about the whole situation,” Latoison said.
Guzman won a civil lawsuit filed against the city following the alleged assault, earning her $75,000.
Josey was acquitted on simple assault charges in criminal court.
Judge Patrick Dugan, who heard the criminal case, said he was troubled by the cell phone video, but that there was more going on than the footage revealed.
Kelvyn Anderson, executive director of the city’s Police Advisory Commission, was equally disappointed by Monday’s decision.
“Unfortunately, I’m not surprised,” Anderson said. “This is what we found in our study of 22 or so firings that have occurred and gone through arbitration over the last several years.”
Anderson has said that about 90 percent of dismissed officers are able to rejoin the force through arbitration.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey was not immediately available for comment. He has opposed reinstating Josey, telling NewsWorks in late February that “the use of force was excessive, uncalled for.”
A message left for John McGrody, a spokesman with the Fraternal Order of Police, was not immediately returned.
Following Josey’s acquittal, McGrody called Josey’s actions “completely justified.”