The temperature outside was soaring Tuesday, but it was blowtorch hot inside 3 South Penn Center, the District Attorney's Office, as Larry Krasner juggled two police-related hot potatoes.
Ex-cop Ryan Pownall, 36, turned himself in Tuesday, was taken into custody, and faces criminal homicide charges stemming from a June 2017 fatal shooting. He is not eligible for bail.
DA spokesman Ben Waxman told me Krasner will seek a sentence "of 19 years to life," which a judge can accept or reject. The victim's family, which will be heard, wants an additional 10 years and has protested Krasner's suggestion.
In a statement, Krasner noted that Smith didn't handle or shoot the gun, and was convicted of the lesser charge of second-degree murder.
Krasner asks us to wear a blindfold of unaccountability for Smith, as if he magically appeared at the scene of the crime.
In the Pownall case, the ex-cop deserves the presumption of innocence as the DA prepares his prosecution. What Pownall doesn't deserve is the gift of amnesia. The record shows what he did.
In June 2017, he broke off from transporting a father and two sons to the Special Victims Unit to pull over David Jones for riding a dirt bike. Pownall stopped Jones, an ex-felon, without notifying his superiors, breaking departmental policy, Commissioner Richard Ross said later. He also broke protocol by conducting the stop with civilians in his car.
Jones, 30, had a gun, which he dropped when he ran from Pownall, who fired twice, striking Jones in the back.
Department policy directs that lethal force can be used only to protect the officer or others from death or serious harm. An unarmed fleeing suspect cannot harm the officer.
The combination of these events led to Pownall's discharge from the force, a discharge that stuck when all too often the arbitration board returns officers to their jobs with stained reputations.
The Fraternal Order of Police begs to differ, because the FOP's job is to defend its members. So FOP president John McNesby predictably called Krasner's charges an "absurd disgrace" and showed Krasner's "anti-law enforcement agenda."
By prosecuting a cop, the former defense attorney fulfills a campaign promise that cops are not above the law — and also probably checks something off his bucket list.
With that said, it's the right call. This was the second time Pownall was involved in the back-shooting of a civilian. The first time was in 2010, when Carnell Williams-Carney was shot from behind and paralyzed.
Pownall's supporters want us to put on a blue blindfold. Just think "cop" and ignore the damning evidence.
I can't go there. Given his record, Pownall was not a good cop. Whether he's guilty of homicide, a jury will decide.
This I know: When we hand an officer a badge and a gun, we have to know that the officer will play by the rules.