Philadephia police officer who shot Black man in the back will be indicted for murder
TheGrio has launched a special series called #BlackonBlue to examine the relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans. Our reporters and videographers will investigate police brutality and corruption while also exploring local and national efforts to improve policing in our communities. Join the conversation, or share your own story, using the hashtag #BlackonBlue.
Ryan Pownall, the former Philadelphia cop who shot a fleeing Black man in the back last year, will be indicted on first-degree murder charges.
Pownall, who was transporting people to the Special Victim Unit, allegedly stopped David Jones for riding his dirt bike “in a reckless manner.”
According to the police version of what transpired, the officer stopped and frisked Jones, and during a pat down felt a weapon in the man’s waistband, Apple News reports The Philadelphia Police Department claims Jones reached for his gun after Pownall ordered him not to do it. There was a struggle, Pownall’s gun jammed, then the officer shot Jones.
Jones, who was shot in the back and buttocks, was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital. Part of the incident was caught on surveillance video, showing the officer shooting the fleeing Black man. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said reviewing the video “gives me pause.”
He added, “I did watch the video, and clearly one of the shots was taken while the male was running away,” Ross told NBC1o news. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Another, conflicting version of what transpired was reported by Christopher “Flood the Drummer” Norris, a Philadelphia journalist who has been on the case and has been trying to get to the bottom of what really happened. An eyewitness named Terrance F.—who was in the police vehicle with two of his children to report the abduction of his son—claimed that Pownall got out of the police cruiser and threatened to take Jones’ bike.
Terrance claims Pownall frisked Jones and put a gun to his head. Terrance says he told Jones not to resist the officer. The two men tussled, and Jones’s gun fell to the ground. Jones freed himself from Pownall’s grasp and ran, and the officer tasered him, according to Terrance. Then, Pownall threw his Taser down, picked up his gun and shot Jones in the back. A gun was found on the ground near the police car, not with Jones.
This was not the first time that Officer Pownall, now placed on administrative leave, shot a Black man in the back. Seven years ago, Pownall shot Carnell Williams-Carney, now 36, in the back while the man was running away, leaving him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Williams-Carney filed a federal lawsuit against the police and lost. The case now has renewed attention following the killing of David Jones. It is known that police officers with a history of abuse rarely are disciplined, much less fired for their misconduct or criminality, allowing them to become repeat offenders as they presumably “protect and serve” and uphold the law.
Responding to the fatal shooting of Jones, who had recently married, his family and Black Lives Matter demand justice, and call for elected officials to be held accountable.
DA Larry Krasner is expected to hold a press conference today.