Dawkins comments on dismissal of charges against former Philly police officer in 2017 killing of David Jones

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 12 – State House Philadelphia Delegation Democratic Chairman Jason Dawkins today issued this statement following the dismissal of all charges against former Philadelphia police officer Ryan Pownell in the 2017 killing of David Jones.  

I was saddened to learn about the dismissal of charges of a former Philadelphia police officer over the murder of David Jones,” Dawkins said. “As a legislator, father and African American, I cannot help but feel dismay not only for the Jones family, but also my constituents who are predominantly African American as well. Such a ruling by the judiciary undermines constituents’ faith in our system of government and results in them holding the perception that their votes are those of second-class citizens and will make no difference. Perceptions of this nature are dangerous as they undermine our democratic system, creating an endless cycle of hopelessness and fear of the authorities. Fear eliminates the belief that justice is blind and elicits a view that lady justice herself is willing to turn a blind eye to the plight of those seeking justice in particular zip codes.

“We must remember that such fear is itself the only thing we must be afraid of, for it only serves as an obstacle to how we must continue to carefully approach the concept of justice in American life. Too often rulings in these cases open 400-year-old wounds that show the American system was not designed for individuals of color, as once invoked by W.E.B. Du Bois in ‘The Souls of Black Folk,’ where he asserts individuals of color are ‘…coming more and more to look upon law and justice, not as protecting safeguards, but as sources of humiliation and oppression. The laws are made by men who have little interest in him; they are executed by men who have absolutely no motive for treating the black people with courtesy or consideration…’

“With that in mind I wish to express my condolences not only to the Jones family but also to individuals in Philadelphia and the state who feel they can scream but are met with silence over the blood of their loved ones being spilled without any course of rectification to be seen. Yet in the face of this miscarriage of justice we must not resort to violence but rather conversation from which we will build new foundations of justice that seek equity within the law. There are those however who seek to spread fear by the use of dog whistles and perpetual myths of criminality that seek to maintain the status quo indefinitely, but we must rise above such dogma by continuing to fight for as long as it takes. This ruling indicates the importance of our voice in a system that was not designed for our success or well-being, but rather control.”