One man is dead following an officer-involved shooting which took place on June 8th in Philadelphia. Now the officer who killed 30-year-old David Jones as he ran away has been suspended and potentially fired following the release of a very disturbing video and a three-month long investigation. But that disciplinary action does not go far enough for critics who say Officer Ryan Pownall should be brought up on murder charges.
Pownall was transporting witnesses in a separate case when he said he approached Jones for allegedly driving his dirt bike erratically. After the officer made contact with the man riding a motorcycle, Jones produced a handgun and Pownall opened fire. After attempting to fire the first shot, the officer’s gun jammed, at which time Jones had dropped the gun and was running away. Pownall fired another two shots, with one hitting Jones in the back, killing him.
In both instances, Jones was running away from Pownall, with nothing (no weapon) in either hand. Officer Pownall violated departmental policy when he made the vehicle stop with witnesses in the back of the patrol car. He also failed to notify police radio of the traffic stop or call for backup. He fired two shots at Jones while he was running away and no longer posing what appeared to be a threat to himself (Pownall) or witnesses at that moment.
Ross continued saying:
Because Jones never looked back at Pownall in the video and his hands were empty, he posed no imminent or immediate threat to Pownall.”
Issac Gardner and several members of the Black Lives Matter group protested outside of Pownall’s house as well as police headquarters. Gardner remarked:
We will show back up at his house. We’re not done. It was good that he was fired, but we need him charged with the murder of David Jones.”
Doretha Crosby is Jones’ mother. She told reporters:
I just don’t get why this cop just took his life. He was only going to sell his bike and lost his life. It just don’t make no sense.”
Video of the deadly shooting shows Jones running away from the officer, around a vehicle, before being killed by the officer’s bullet. But police do not dispute eye witness testimony that Jones pulled a gun on the officer first.
In June, when the incident happened, Ross addressed reporters saying that eyewitnesses saw the officer approach Jones, and reach around his waist, where he felt the firearm. He ordered Jones not to “reach” for the weapon. Jones ignored that command and pulled the gun on the officer, who quickly drew his own weapon and attempted to fire. Ross said the first shot by the officer was entirely justified, but the subsequent two were not, and he was apparently fired for shooting an unarmed man in the back.
The incident in Philadelphia is the latest in what seems to be a string of cop vs. biker incidents which have left several citizens dead. Just last week we brought you the story of Demond Grimes—a 15-year-old child—who was killed by a Michigan State Police Officer Mark Bessner after the officer tased Grimes from his vehicle as the teenager was riding his ATV.
Grimes then crashed into the back of a pickup truck, killing him instantly. The cowboy drive-by style shooting left his family grieving and lawyers lining up to sue the officer, the department, and the city, for his alleged reckless behavior.
We will continue to bring you updates in the David Jones case from Philadelphia as they become available.
Top photo | Protesters march and demonstrate to decry recent shootings of black men by police and urge reforms in front of City Hall in Philadelphia, July 11, 2016. (AP/Matt Rourke)