PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The city’s top prosecutor has charged a Philadelphia man with ethnic intimidation and assault after a photographer was punched Tuesday night during a clash of protesters in Marconi Plaza.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said John Mooney is seen on cell phone video punching the victim in the jaw.
“The video shows a man punching the other man. The man throwing the punch is on Marconi Plaza, he is wearing a Phillies shirt. He repeatedly says to the man who gets hit, who is a journalistic photographer, words to the effect of ‘get out of here boy.’ He says it at least four times,” Krasner said.
And that word used with both its inflection and tone is why, Krasner said, the 58-year-old was charged with ethnic intimidation.
The victim is Black, and the suspect is white.
“When you commit a crime based upon racism or animus that has to do with the marginalized group they are in, that is an additional crime,” he said.
The word “boy” — used with a specific tone when used from a white person to a Black man — has been legally considered a racist term in other states like Massachusetts and Georgia.
“This is a situation where you have a particular phrase used four consecutive times, immediately before a punch is thrown in this particular context, having to do with pro-civil, anti-racism protesters and an African-American victim,” Krasner added.
Mooney is also charged with simple assault, harassment, and reckless endangerment.
According to the court docket, Mooney is represented by the public defender’s office who, through a spokesman, said it’s too early in the legal process to comment.