RELEASE: District Attorney to Charge Former Police Officer Pownall with Criminal Homicide After Grand Jury Review
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Waxman
Phone/Email: 215–686–8711 | firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 4, 2018) — Today, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is charging former 15th District Philadelphia Police Officer Ryan Pownall with Criminal Homicide (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2501), Possession of an Instrument of Crime (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 907), and Recklessly Endangering Another Person (18 Pa.C.S.A § 2705). Pownall voluntarily turned himself in today.
The Investigating Grand Jury (IGJ), whose members completed a review of the evidence and events leading up to the shooting death of David Jones, recommended that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) issue charges against Pownall.
“The duty of the District Attorney’s Office is to represent the Commonwealth — -every person in the Commonwealth — -and do justice, which includes speaking the truth, applying justice equally, and exercising power with restraint. The Commonwealth includes the family of David Jones. It includes Officer Pownall. We are applying justice evenhandedly today and will do so moving forward,” said Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney. “I would like to thank the grand jurors for their dedication and thoughtful consideration of the evidence.”
The Grand Jury’s Presentment found:
On June 8, 2017, David Jones was riding his dirt bike in the Juniata section of Philadelphia. Pownall pulled up to the traffic light at Whitaker Ave. and Hunting Park Ave. and saw Jones cross Whitaker Ave. to pull into the parking lot of a nearby nightclub. Pownall, who was on duty at the time, was transporting three people, a father and his two children, to the police department’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) for an interview about a crime that was committed against one of the children.
Instead of following police protocol and continuing to SVU, Pownall cut across oncoming traffic, pulled into the nightclub’s parking lot, exited his patrol car, and approached Jones. Pownall next frisked Jones and felt a firearm, which led to a physical altercation. Pownall then attempted to shoot Jones, but Pownall’s gun jammed. Jones threw his gun away from the confrontation according to what P.O. Pownall told his fellow officer immediately after the shooting. Jones broke free and ran away from Pownall. Video recovered from the scene shows that Jones was unarmed and he never turned toward Pownall or gestured in a threatening manner during his flight. As Jones ran, unarmed, Pownall fired at least three shots toward Jones and traffic, hitting Jones twice in the back. Jones’ body was searched at the scene. No gun was recovered on his person. Jones’ firearm was recovered about 25 feet away from the altercation, in the opposite direction of Jones’ flight, approximately 25 feet behind where Pownall fired at Jones.
The IGJ found that by firing his gun in the direction of traffic, Pownall recklessly endangered other people in his vicinity, that at the time of his flight, Jones was not a danger to anyone and that Jones’s death was not necessary to secure his apprehension.
Pownall’s arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of over 75,000 criminal cases annually.