Philly FOP Wins Right to Challenge Release of Cops' Names

Members of Black Lives Matter demonstrated outside the home of a Philadelphia police officer calling for him to be charged in the shooting death of a man. NBC10's Brandon Hudson reports.

(Published Friday, Aug. 25, 2017)

The union representing Philadelphia police officers says it has won a temporary halt to the immediate release of cops' identities in shootings of civilians.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 said late Friday that the union can now challenge the release of officers in police-involved shootings until a full hearing is held Sept. 29.

The union has long sought to protect the identity of officers who shoot civilians in the line of duty, and filed a lawsuit Friday seeking a temporary injunction against the police department's release of names after a protest outside one officer's house Thursday evening.

The small group of about a dozen protesters from a local Black Lives Matter chapter paced outside 15th District Officer Ryan Pownall's twin home along Bridle Road in the city's Bustleton section for about an hour.

McNesby ripped the protesters during an interview with NBC10, and called one of the Black Lives Matter organizers, Asa Khalif, "a punk."

"I can't use the words I want," McNesby said Friday. "To take it to someone's house, a police officer's house, he doesn't have any respect."

"He's a two-bit punk who doesn't have the respect of decent protesters, if there is any in this city."

Pownall, a 12-year veteran of the police department, shot the 30-year-old in the back and buttocks on June 8 following a struggle. The officer stopped Jones for riding an illegal dirt bike in North Philadelphia, and patted the man down. Pownall has alleged that a struggle then ensued when he found a handgun on Jones.

Moments later, Jones fled. Surveillance video obtained by NBC10 appears to show Jones running away when he was shot.

A witness later told NBC10 that Jones had dropped the gun before running. A fully loaded .9mm handgun was recovered at the scene.

The shooting remains under investigation by both police and the Pennsylvania attorney general's office. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the department is looking into whether protocol was followed.

Pownall is on administrative leave.

A state lawmaker who represents a portion of Northeast Philadelphia, Martina White, also took exception with protesters entering a suburban neighborhood of Philadelphia. White has twice proposed legislation that would restrict the release of officers' identities following police-involved shootings. Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed her initial bill last year. Another bill remains in the state legislature.

“While I fully support lawful protests as provided by the First Amendment, [Thursday's] events were not that," White said in a press release Friday. "Instead, Black Lives Matter activists invaded a residential neighborhood without a permit, utilized bullhorns to spew profanity, and threatened an endless occupation of that neighborhood until their demands are met."

The city plans to defend its policy of releasing officers' names at the next court hearing, scheduled for Sept. 29 in front of Common Pleas Judge Daniel J. Anders, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney told Philly.com.

Anders issued a temporary injunction Friday until the next hearing that allows the city to continue releasing officers names 72 hours after shootings, but also gave the FOP the right to challenge the release of an officer's identity within that 72-hour window.