John McNesby, the president of a Philadelphia police union, called Black Lives Matter protestors “a pack of rabid animals” and “a racist hate [group] determined to to instigate violence.” He made these remarks at a “Back the Blue” rally held on Thursday night to support the police force in response to a Black Lives Matter protest outside the house of Ryan Pownall, the police officer who shot and killed David Jones at a traffic stop in June.
Back in June, Pownall stopped Jones, who was driving a dirt bike, for reckless driving. According to police, Pownall felt a handgun in Jones’s waistband as he pat him down. After a struggle, Jones did allegedly grab his gun, and Pownall fired, but it jammed. This is when Jones began running away, and Pownall fatally shot him in the back.
This is the second black man Pownall has shot in the back. He shot Carnell Williams-Carney, who is now 36 years old and has been in a wheelchair ever since, in 2010.
The rally was held at the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) headquarters, of which McNesby is president.
“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,” McNesby said. “These are not activists, they are racist hate groups determined to instigate violence.”
Last year, McNesby defended a police officer who appeared to have a large Nazi tattoo on his forearm. When photos of officer Ian Hans Lichtermann popped up on Twitter with what many believed were symbols from Hitler’s Nazi party, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kinney called the tattoo “incredibly offensive.” McNesby, on the other hand, said, “It’s an Eagle. Not a big deal.”
Asa Khalif, a Black Lives Matter activist active in Philadelphia, said neither she nor fellow protestors were deterred by McNesby’s words. “We will not let words stop us,” Khalif told NBC. “The only words we’re using is justice for David Jones, and we will not be sidetracked by the bullying tactics of the FOP.”