Note to former Philadelphia police officer Ryan Pownall: You’re probably breathing a sigh of relief — or maybe celebrating — after your case was kicked out of court earlier this week.
But remember this: no matter where you go or what you do, you’ll always be the ex-cop who got away with murder. Never forget that.
You killed a man by shooting him in the back as he tried to run away. And why? All this because david jones tried to get away after you arrested him in 2017 for illegally riding an old dirt bike he didn’t even want anymore. Surely you have already heard that the fat truck driver was on his way to sell the bike to a potential buyer he had met on Craigslist when you decided to stop him.
You were driving a man and two children at the Special Victims Unit at approximately 6:40 p.m. on June 8, 2017, to make a statement when you stopped at a traffic light on Whitaker and Hunting Park Avenues and noticed Jones on the bike.
Instead of calling for help and waiting for it to arrive, you got out of your vehicle and confronted Jones. A struggle ensued as you tried to feel it, at when did you smell a gun. Jones never fired his gun, but broke free, attempted to flee, and ended up paying for his actions with his life.
Jones was wrong to have a gun on him, as he was not legally allowed to carry one.
But he didn’t deserve to die. His life still mattered.
His dad, with whom he spoke almost every day, loves him.
His mother and stepmother love him.
His 11 younger siblings, who looked up to him and continue to mourn his absence, love him.
His friends love him.
Community members who took to the streets and advocated on his behalf also cared about him.
Old wounds that seemed healed were reopened earlier this week following the devastating news that the judge at the Court of Common Pleas Barbara A. McDermott had denied all charges, saying prosecutors failed to provide proper legal instructions to the grand jury. Her decision was another blow to a family that had already been through so much.
Some of his relatives fled the city and took other steps to continue their lives. But they never recovered from what happened to him.
“He was excited. He had bought his first house. He wanted to buy all this different furniture,” Gloria Jones, David’s mother-in-law, told me this week. “He wanted to start a family. He wanted to be like — how me and his father are.
Jones used to say, “’I’m always on the road. I want to go home with someone,” she recalls. “It lacks nieces and nephews, degrees and balls.”
Hopes of justice for Jones were raised after the former’s sentencing last month Philadelphia police officer Eric Ruch Jr. of intentional homicide in the 2017 shooting of an unarmed man. It was the first such conviction of a Philadelphia cop in at least half a century.
Jones’ siblings range in age from 9 to 21. One of his sisters will be 16 in October.
In an attempt to embrace the joys of life amidst sorrows, some family members who moved to an Atlanta suburb plan a formal prom-themed birthday celebration for her at a banquet hall later. this month. It’s going to be everything a teenage girl would want. “That’s all we can do. We try,” said Gloria Jones.
The only thing missing will be Jones.
They lost someone they loved. They have to live with that.
But Pownall, you have to live with your own memories. You have to live with the image of shooting a man in the back, knowing that your decision has devastated an entire family and community that will never be the same again.
Your reckless actions on that fateful night five years ago will haunt you forever. It’s a terrible punishment and one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But given the circumstances, you managed to get out of it.
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