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September 04, 2018

Former Philadelphia police officer Ryan Pownall faces charges in on-duty fatal shooting of David Jones

FOP President John McNesby calls case 'meritless,' says Philly D.A. Larry Krasner is 'anti-law enforcement'

Investigations Police Shootings
Stock_Carroll - Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner was the focus of a letter from 24 local academics questioning media coverage of criminal justice reform efforts.

Former Philadelphia police Officer Ryan Pownall was charged Tuesday with criminal homicide, possession of an instrument of crime and reckless endangerment in the June 2017 fatal shooting of a man in the back. 

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the charges were the result of a year-long investigation. The victim, David Jones, was riding a dirt bike in North Philadelphia when Pownall, a white officer, frisked Jones, a black man, and felt a gun in his pocket. After a brief struggle for the firearm, Jones dropped it and ran unarmed from Pownall with his hands in the air. Pownall fired at least three shots at Jones.

The investigation found that "Jones was not a danger to anyone and that Jones's death was not necessary," according to a statement from the DA.

The shooting-related charges against an on-duty police officer in Philadelphia were the first in two decades, according to the Inquirer. 

Pownall turned himself in on Tuesday. His arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

Below is the entire Tuesday morning press conference from Krasner. 

"The duty of the District Attorney's Office is to represent the Commonwealth — every person in the Commonwealth—and do it justice, which includes speaking the truth, applying justice equally, and exercising power with restraint," Krasner said in a statement. 

John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 in Philadelphia responded to the charges Pownall on Tuesday afternoon.

"We're here today for an absurd disgrace that first-degree murder charges were held against officer Ryan Pownall," McNesby said during a press conference while flanked by about 70 officers, friends and members of Pownall's family, including the officer's his wife and children. 

"Today's meritless indictment clearly illustrates a district attorney who has an anti-law enforcement agenda," McNesby said. He added the FOP expects the officer to be cleared of all charges and be reinstated. 

Here are all of McNesby's comments at the 2 p.m. press conference. 

Pownall shot another black man in 2010 in the back while he was on duty. That man, Carnell Williams-Carney, remains paralyzed with the bullet still lodged in his back. 

Pownall was a 12-year veteran of the force when he was fired shortly after Jones was killed. (Although he was briefly hired by the Philadelphia Parking Authority in June, the Inquirer reported.) 

"This is a city, like many other American cities, where there has not been accountability for activity by police officers in uniform, especially when that activity involves violence against civilians," Krasner said during Tuesday's press conference. 

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