Investigators still reviewing Philly cops who shot 12-year-old last week

Shown are Philadelphia police vehicles on a traffic stop

File photo: Philadelphia police vehicles are shown in Philadelphia, June 24, 2021. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner was deliberately vague while addressing the case of police officers involved in the shooting of a 12-year-old boy last week.

“I expect there to be some developments with reference to that situation this week,” Krasner said during his weekly press conference Monday. He added that he had been talking with Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw about the shooting and reviewed some video in the case.

The DA told reporters peppering him with questions that he would not say if a grand jury was reviewing the shooting, just that there would be a careful investigation into the incident.

Four officers were in an unmarked patrol car on a stakeout Tuesday night when their rear window was shattered by a gunshot, injuring one of the officers. Two officers then got out of the car and proceeded to chase the youth. The officers eventually shot and killed him.

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A 9mm semiautomatic handgun with a laser sight was recovered at the site of the shooting, but it’s not clear if the boy shot had the gun at the time he was shot.

The DA did speak about another case that may have relevance to the shooting of the 12-year-old boy. Krasner referenced the killing of David Jones, which brings into question the state’s use-of-force law. Krasner believes that law tilts the scales of justice in the direction of a police officer when force is used.

In 2021, Krasner appealed the use of the standard in the case, delaying the trial of ex-officer Ryan Pownall, who shot and killed David Jones in 2017. In that case, a grand jury indicted the fired cop on first-degree murder charges a year later in 2018, but a month after the indictment, a judge reduced the charges to third-degree murder and granted Pownall, a 12-year veteran of the force, bail.

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In his appeal, Krasner asked the Supreme Court to order all judges in the state to change their instructions to jurors on when police officers can legally use deadly force. He argued the language in Pennsylvania’s statute is unconstitutional because it enables officers to use deadly force on people fleeing arrest who are not considered dangerous.

Krasner cited the Pownall case as evidence that the law unfairly favors officers who harm others in the line of duty. He called for the law to be more “even-handed.”

That case could have implications in the shooting of the 12-year-old, Krasner said, and any case where charges are brought against a police officer in relation to a fatal shooting.

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