DA charges man of assaulting photographer at Marconi Plaza

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The Christopher Columbus statue at Marconi Plaza has become a controversial issue in South Philadelphia. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

District Attorney Larry Krasner announced assault and related charges against John Mooney, 58, of Philadelphia for his role in the assault of a professional photographer at Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia on Tuesday evening, the District Attorney’s office said. 

Video posted to social media shows Mooney among a group of people who are verbally taunting and threatening violence to anti-racism protesters at Marconi Plaza, the district attorney said. 

Mooney repeatedly tells the photographer, a Black man, “Get out of here, boy,” before punching him in the face, according to a statement released by the DA’s office on Wednesday. 

“Video shows police on scene arresting Mooney after he punched this photographer, a Black man who has been doing the important work of journalistic photography of anti-racism protests across the country,” Krasner said. “However, these incidents continue to raise serious questions about policing and unequal application of the law in the city of Philadelphia.”

Mooney faces charges of Ethnic Intimidation, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and Harassment. 

“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. “Yet, during widely documented altercations in the Fishtown neighborhood and at Marconi Plaza in South Philly, anti-racism protesters and journalists have been verbally and physically assaulted, in direct view of law enforcement officers who have – by the numbers – made far more arrests of protesters and journalists than they have of these bat-wielding, assaultive, and threatening individuals. It is no wonder, then, that Americans here and across the country have been marching non-stop since late May, following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, to demand equal accountability and equal treatment under the law.

“To the elected officials who are watching these mass demonstrations for justice, I say: Do what is right and deliver the accountability and the justice that the people demand. Protect journalists. Protect free speech. Stop protecting people who won’t leave their bats at home.”