A man who allegedly punched an African-American photographer is facing assault and etnnic intimidation. The incident took place near the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia’s Marconi Plaza Tuesday evening.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said John Mooney, 58, of Philadelphia has been charged with ethnic intimidation, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.
The incident is part of a series of circumstances that have generated increased tension around the statue.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the incident occurred Tuesday amid protests and counter-protests at the statue.
The incident was recorded by Mel, D.Cole, the photographer assaulted and then shared it to social media. In it, Mooney repeatedly tells Cole, who “get out of here, boy,” before punching him in the face and knocking his camera to the ground.
Krasner made emphasis on the “unequal application” of the law in the city. “Video shows police on scene arresting Mooney after he punched this photographer, an African-American man who has been doing the important work of journalistic photography of anti-racism protests across the country. However, these incidents continue to raise serious questions about policing and unequal application of the law in the city of Philadelphia.”
In Krasner´s view, the difference in the attitude of the anti-racist demonstrators to the aggressiveness of the “vigilantes” is evident.
“For four consecutive weeks, thousands of Philadelphians have been peacefully taking to the streets to demand equal justice and accountability for all institutions, including the Philadelphia Police Department, and have done so without wielding bats, hammers, firearms, or racial epithets.”
Krasner said police have made “far more arrests of protesters and journalists” than of counter protesters and armed citizens.