PHILADELPHIA – A former Philadelphia cop has been charged with first-degree murder following a shooting last year.
In June of 2017, Officer Ryan Pownall was involved in the fatal shooting of David Jones, 32, in Hunting Park.
The critical incident occurred after Jones was stopped for riding a dirt bike on city streets and, police say, he reached for a weapon. Nevertheless, the prosecutor sees it differently.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said during a news conference on Tuesday that Pownall attempted to shoot Jones but his gun jammed, reported 6 ABC.
As a result, he says Jones tossed his own gun to the ground and began to run away.
“Video recovered from the scene shows Jones was unarmed, and he never turned toward Pownall or gestured in a threatening manner during his flight,” Krasner said.
Pownall fired at least three shots toward Jones and nearby traffic, Krasner said, hitting Jones twice in the back, killing him.
Krasner says investigators located Jones’ gun about 25 feet in the opposite direction from the location he was shot.
In announcing his termination from the department last year, Commissioner Richard Ross said other errors committed by Pownall included stopping Jones with witnesses present in his patrol car and failing to notify police dispatch that he was stopping Jones in the first place.
Black Lives Matter activists held up a mock wanted poster of Pownall as they hailed Krasner’s announcement.
However, the Fraternal Order of Police and Pownall’s family members slammed Krasner and denounced the criminal charges.
“We believe first-degree murder is absolutely absurd in this case,” said FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby. “We’re going to stand with his wife, Tina, his children, as well as every officer out there today, and in the 15th District, and citywide, to make sure they get what’s needed and to that he’s eventually brought home in the coming days.”
Pownall’s brother, Edward, said his family is “horribly saddened and disturbed.”
“He loves being an officer. He’s a great person,” Edward Pownall said.
Pownall has turned himself into police. If convicted, Pownall could face the death sentence or life in prison without parole.