Philly’s police union president, John McNesby, may have spoken a little too honestly during a recent rally in support of his police officer brethren. While many local residents may forgive his decision to defend the local police force during a period of time that they are seen as controversial, they’ll likely not forgive any over the top rhetoric that could be seen as tainted with racism or bigotry. McNesby’s most recent remarks during a heated public speech, could be seen as crossing the line.
“(They’re) a pack of rabid animals,” McNesby said on Friday during a pro-police rally at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 headquarters. “When you go to work each day, you shouldn’t have to worry that a pack of rabid animals will suddenly show up at your home and openly threaten your family. These are not activists, they are racist hate groups determined to instigate violence.”
McNesby’s statement and the rally came in the wake of an ongoing dispute in Philadelphia where a police offcer is under fire after shooting a man as he fled from the officer. While BlackLivesMatter activists want to paint the situation as yet another instance of police brutality, and yet another example of a white officer targeting and shooting a black man… the local P.D. says that’s not at all what happened in this case.
Protests kicked off back in June when Officer Ryan Pownall shot 30-year old Ryan Jones as he fled from the officer. Pownall pulled Jones over for riding an illegal dirt bike on a city street. When the officer patted down the suspect he felt a handgun in the man’s waistband.
A witness who was in the back of Pownall’s police car said he saw the officer pull his gun and then tell the man not to touch the gun in his waistband. The man then struggled with the officer before pulling his gun from his waistband, but the witness says Jones then dropped the gun, and began to run away. That’s when Pownall fired his gun, hitting the man in the back with two of his shots. Jones later died at a nearby hospital. Police did find a fully-loaded handgun at the scene and have not, as of yet, offered a different version of the story then the witness has described, though the shooting is still under investigation. This is the second time that Officer Pownall has been the center of controversy for shooting a man in the back:
Black Lives Matter, along with others, have been protesting the shooting for weeks. In July, the group marched on the Police Administration Building and City Hall demanding a larger investigation.
Pownall was called a “racist, bigot pig cop” and Khalif said he has “a murderous spirit” — referring to another shooting that the officer was involved. That 2010 shooting left Carnell Williams-Carney paralyzed when a bullet hit him in the back. The shooting was ruled justified and Williams-Carney lost a federal lawsuit against police.
McNesby’s comments about the protesters being a “pack of rabid animals,” comes less than a week after he called their leader “a punk” who should have been arrested for protesting without a permit. When pressed by the media about calling the BLM leader a “punk,” McNesby said, “I can’t use the words I want. 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.”
McNesby has gotten riled up by the latest protests because the Black Lives Matter protesters (and their leaders in particular) have been using heated, aggressive, and sometimes violent-sounding rhetoric. For example, last week BLM leaders argued that they knew where Pownall lived before insinuating that they might pay the officer and his family a visit. “We have something in the tank,” the BLM leader said. “There is nothing off the table, including coming back to the police officer’s home.”
Both sides should probably consider modulating their rhetoric, but I don’t expect we’ll see anyone do so.