Judge downgrades Philadelphia ex-cop Ryan Pownall's murder charge
Ryan Pownall charges were reduced from first-degree murder to third-degree murder in the shooting of David Jones.
While Pownall supporters were excited for the small victory, Jones’ advocates were less than happy after Judge Coleman made the announcement without an explanation and set Pownall’s bail at 10 percent of $500,000.
The Philadelphia ex-cop will be allowed out on house arrest. Pownall can attend meetings with his lawyers, as well as attend church and preapproved medical appointments. A trial date has yet to be set.
Pownall, who did not attend Thursday’s hearing, was officially charged in the death of Jones back in September. In 2017, Pownall was accused of shooting Jones in the back after the man fled following a traffic stop in North Philadelphia.
The 12-year veteran officer, according to authorities, drew his gun and shot Jones in the back as he ran away with his arms in the air. Jones did have a gun on him when he was pulled over for riding an illegal dirt bike, but according to surveillance video, Jones’ weapon fell to the ground prior to him running away after the two got into a scuffle.
"At the time of Jones' flight, Jones was not a danger to anyone," District Attorney Larry Krasner shared while announcing the charges against the Philadelphia ex-cop last month. "Jones' death was not necessary to secure the apprehension of Jones."
Pownall's attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., disagreed, sharing that Pownall was justified in shooting Jones.
"[Pownall] encountered someone who is armed with an unlawful pistol, pulled that pistol from his waist, a struggle ensued. Officer Pownall was justified in his actions that night," Perri said. "The evidence will clearly show that based on the facts and circumstance that will be presented at a trial, that he was legally completely justified in his actions and he will be exonerated of all charges."
Pownall fired following Jones' shooting
Following the shooting death of Jones, Pownall was fired by Police Commissioner Richard Ross for several departmental policy violations in the fatal shooting. Pownall has been in jail since Sept. 4 after turning himself into the authorities.
The Philadelphia ex-cop was also involved in another shooting back in July 2010 when he and his partner pursued Carnell Williams-Carney on foot.
Carnell Williams-Carney was shot and paralyzed after running from the officers. He was recently released from prison at the time and carrying an illegal handgun.
"I understand some people make mistakes. If it was your first time, maybe, you know, it was a mistake on the job. But two times the same situation? Really. That raises a big red flag.,” Jones’ father said.
Ryan Pownall is the first police officer to be charged with homicide in almost 20 years.