PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The trial of former Philadelphia police officer Ryan Pownall, charged with third-degree murder in the shooting death of David Jones, has been delayed. Prosecutors say the wording of a statute is unconstitutional.
State law outlines when a police officer is justified in the shooting of someone: if “the person to be arrested has committed or attempted a forcible felony or is attempting to escape or possesses a deadly weapon …”
But prosecutors say the “or” is unconstitutional and it should read “and.”
Pownall’s defense attorney Fred Perri said,
“Clearly the existing law justifies his conduct. The District Attorney’s Office decided to ignore the existing law in bringing this prosecution.”
In an order last week, Judge Barbara McDermott denied the prosecution’s motion and said no court can override the legislative branch — so now, prosecutors have appealed to the Superior Court.
By Kristen Johanson