State Rep. Martina White issued a statement in response to an hour-long protest outside an officer’s Bustleton home.
“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.”
— State Rep. Martina White
State Rep. Martina White (170th dist.) condemned Black Lives Matter for showing up last week outside the Bustleton home of Philadelphia Police Officer Ryan Pownall.
Pownall, assigned to the 15th Police District, was transporting a father and two children to the Special Victims Unit on June 8 when he saw David Jones allegedly driving recklessly on a dirt bike — which are prohibited on public streets — in Feltonville.
Pownall attempted to frisk Jones, who allegedly had a loaded handgun in his waistband. During a physical struggle, Pownall shot Jones, who died at a hospital 20 minutes later.
The state attorney general’s office is investigating.
“Activists from Black Lives Matter took over a quiet residential Philadelphia neighborhood to aim their vitriol at the home and family of Officer Pownall. They called him a murderer in an attempt to influence public opinion in a sensitive matter that is still under investigation by both the Police Department and the attorney general’s office,” White said in a statement.
The protest lasted about an hour.
There were about 10 supporters of Black Lives Matter, including Asa Khalif, who shouted into a bullhorn, and a foul-mouthed videographer. They carried wanted signs featuring Pownall’s picture.
Neighbors and about three dozen police officers were on the scene, according to a video of the protest.
“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,” White said. “This same unlawful protest also required a contingent of police officers who would otherwise be working to preserve safety across our city to instead protect the residents of this neighborhood, including the officer and his family.
“It is shocking to me that Police Commissioner Richard Ross and Mayor Jim Kenney allowed this illegal occupation to go on for hours without taking any action to enforce the law, and I question whether the police department has been ordered to stand down when it comes to addressing this Black Lives Matter action.”
In a Facebook posting of a story on White’s comments, Khalif wrote, “Go to hell!!”
White is the sponsor of House Bill 27, which would delay releasing the names of officers involved in shootings until 30 days have passed, or until the investigation is concluded, whichever is completed sooner. She said this would provide the necessary balance between the need for public transparency and the time to conduct a professional and thorough investigation.
House Bill 27 has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.
More than 2,000 local residents have signed a petition calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to sign the legislation into law if it arrives on his desk.
The same legislation was passed by both the House and Senate in 2016, but vetoed by Wolf. ••