Judge dismisses charges against police officers who fatally shot a black man because the prosecutor’s office misrepresented their case

Philadelphia prosecutors are challenging a decision by a Common Pleas Court judge dismissing murder charges against a police officer who fatally shot a black man who was trying to escape. The court says the charges had to be dropped because the grand jury received erroneous decision-making instructions regarding the case.

On Tuesday, October 11, Judge Barbara M. McDermott threw out Ryan Pownall’s third-degree murder, reckless endangerment and weapons charge in the June 2017 shooting of David Jones in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia. The judge ruled that in 2021, prosecutors did not provide the grand jury with sufficient legal guidance to make a decision on indicting Pownall in the 30-year-old’s death, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In her decision, McDermott said there were “as many things wrong” as the prosecution instructed the grand jury before deliberating on the case.

One of the problems with the prosecution that the judge addressed during the court hearing was that the prosecution’s office failed to provide the jury with background information on how and when officers are legally authorized to use their guns.

She asked, “How could the grand jury do that? [its] job without knowing it?”

Another problem was that the former prosecutor testified and printed out the legal definition of murder, intentional homicide, and negligent homicide, but left it on a table while the grand jury considered the case.

The defense said that was insufficient and that prosecutors should have read the indictment, and therefore did not define malice. Malice is the difference between murder and manslaughter.

For this reason, too, McDermott sided with the defense.

District Attorney spokesman Larry Krasner said the office “totally disagrees” with the court on the matter and will be considering next steps regarding the case.

The incident at the heart of the case began on June 8, 2017, when Pownall encountered Jones as the officer was transporting two children and their father to the Special Victims Unit. Jones rode his dirt bike on the street.

Jones parked his bike in the parking lot of a local nightclub and Pownall followed him into the area so he could search him. Pownall later said that he felt a gun on Jones’ body during the search, which led to an argument between the men.

Pownall claims Jones tried to shoot him during the fight but the black man’s gun jammed. Witnesses say Jones threw his gun and ran away at this point, and Pownall fired his own gun at the 30-year-old, hitting him twice in the back.

Pownall was released in September 2017, and in September of the following year he was charged with murder by Krasner’s office. When the district’s grand jury recommended indictment, it said the fleeing Jones, meeting Pownall, “was of no danger to anyone fleeing.”

DA spokeswoman Jane Roh said this week, “The district attorney’s office strongly disagrees with today’s court decision on this matter on many levels and will review our options in the coming days.”

The case has experienced several delays over the past five years as both prosecutors and the defense have been involved in pre-trial manoeuvres. Now, with the new verdict, members of Pownall’s union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, are campaigning to get his job back.

Union federation president John McNesby said: “From the outset we have called the criminal charges brought against Officer Ryan Pownall an absolute disgrace.”

McNesby continued, “And today a judge in Philadelphia agreed and dropped all criminal charges against this officer. We have pledged a vigorous defense against all charges and were pleased to see all criminal charges dismissed.”

This is not (or was not) the only perspective of law enforcement.

When Pownall was suspended from the force in 2017, then-Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross believed the officer had not been following department guidelines when he shot Jones.

While his first attempt to shoot the man was justified, the second fatal shot was not. The additional shots were fired when the man was 10 feet away from him and not facing forward. In addition, he was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

In 2018, the city of Philadelphia settled a civil lawsuit involving Jones’ family for $1 million.

Gloria Jones, Jones’ mother, called the drop in the case “terrible” and said she also disagreed with the judge’s decision. She said her children, Jones’ siblings, “feel in this world that there is no justice for them.”

According to police records, this was the second time Pownall had been involved in a shooting while on duty. In 2010, he paralyzed a man named Carnell Williams-Carney. He also punched him in the back as he fled. In that incident, a federal jury ruled that the shooting was warranted.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/10/18/judge-dismisses-charges-against-former-philly-police-officer-who-fatally-shot-black-man-in-2017/ Judge dismisses charges against police officers who fatally shot a black man because the prosecutor’s office misrepresented their case

James Brien

24ssports is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@24ssports.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button